Fund for the City of New York and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Announce Recipients of First Annual Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics
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Fund for the City of New York and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Announce Recipients of First Annual Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics "No teacher has done so much for me. I never thought an adult could care so much, and I wanted to perform well because of him." Student of Award Winner NEW YORK, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Highlighting some of the outstanding work being done throughout New York City's public high schools, the Fund for the City of New York today announced the recipients of the first annual Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. Recognizing exceptionally dedicated and creative teachers who have achieved outstanding results, the Awards also acknowledge the role each has played in inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to pursue careers in science and mathematics. The seven winners, who were chosen from applications submitted by parents, students, teachers and school administrators throughout the city's five boroughs, will be presented with their Sloan Awards on November 5, 2009 at a 4:30 PM ceremony in the Great Hall at Cooper Union. Each award is $7,500 - $5,000 for the teacher and $2,500 to strengthen each school's science or mathematics program - and the recipients will be acknowledged by a variety of dignitaries and government officials including Nobel Prize winner and Memorial Sloan-Kettering President Harold Varmus, Chancellor Joel Klein of the New York City Department of Education, and Sheldon Weinbaum, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineers and Chair of the Selection Panel. "What these great teachers share is a passion for their subject and a commitment to their students," explained Mary McCormick, President of the Fund for the City of New York. "They create rigorous, nurturing environments in which students learn to excel and to love science and math. They embody the excellence that is found in public school classrooms throughout the city." The winners of the first Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics are: -- Katherine Cooper, Townsend Harris High School, Queens -- Michael Holmes, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Bronx -- Michael Klimetz, John Dewey High School, Brooklyn -- Richard Lee, Bronx High School of Science -- Fredrick Nelson, Wings Academy, Bronx -- Homer Panteloglou, High School of Economics and Finance, Manhattan -- Nicola Vitale, Banana Kelly High School, Bronx McCormick noted that while the Award winners should be recognized first and foremost for their outstanding teaching ability, many of them have overcome significant personal and professional obstacles. "Each has a compelling story to tell, and when you hear them you get a better understanding of what's contributed to their success as teachers." According to Dr. Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the goal of the Awards is to recognize outstanding science and math teachers in New York City's public high schools, and provide support in making their teaching materials and techniques widely available. "Outstanding teachers are the key ingredient for providing an outstanding education to New York City's students, and they deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication," he commented. Chancellor Joel Klein added that while it's true American students in general do not measure up to their counterparts in many other countries in science and math, it is also true that they can be just as good if not better than any across the globe. "The real lesson is that when students have the right teachers and support, they can do anything. That's why the Department of Education is delighted to help inaugurate these awards, which will continue to highlight superior teachers who, by their example, inform and inspire others." SLOAN AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS Nominations for the 2010 Awards will be accepted from December 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010. All science and mathematics teachers in New York City's more than 300 high schools who have taught for at least five years, and who demonstrate excellence in teaching and in achieving results, are qualified to be nominated. Winners will be chosen by an independent panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators. More information and a nomination form are available at www.fcny.org. FUND FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK The Fund for the City of New York was established by the Ford Foundation in 1968 with the mandate to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. In partnership with government agencies, nonprofit institutions and foundations, the Fund has developed and helped to implement innovations in policy, programs, practices and technology in order to advance the functioning of government and nonprofit organizations in New York City and beyond. The Fund seeks out, adapts, applies and assesses ways to enable government and non-profit agencies to achieve excellence through its five core programs--the Cash Flow Loan Program, the Incubator Program, the Sloan Public Service Awards, the Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics and Technology Consulting. The Fund also fulfills its mission through three strategic initiatives: the Center on Government Performance, the Center for Nonprofit Enterprise Solutions and the Center for Internet Innovation/E-Community Connect. ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic nonprofit institution established by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. in 1934. Its main programs involve science and technology, standard of living and economic performance, education and careers in science and technology, selected national issues and a civic program. The goal of the civic program is to contribute to New York City by responding to special opportunities the city presents, and by funding high-leverage programs related to its areas of interest. The Sloan Public Service Awards, presented annually by the Fund for the City of New York, have been part of its civic program since 1985. 2009 SLOAN AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS RECIPIENTS* (Photos Available Upon Request) KATHERINE COOPER, Townsend Harris High School Biology, Science Research, Biomedical Ethics, Anatomy-Physiology, Advanced Topics The daughter of parents who came to the U.S. to escape communism, Katherine Cooper's passion for science was ignited by her study of dance, which led to enduring interest in the human body. Mrs. Cooper began her teaching career at Townsend Harris High School after graduating from Fordham and NYU with science and education degrees respectively, and over the last six years has made important contributions to the school. She has designed Biomedical Ethics and Anatomy-Physiology courses, mentored students who have won Intel Science Awards, and established the Townsend Harris Science Olympiad Club, which has won numerous championships. Employing an approach that allows students to conduct their own research and draw their own conclusions, Mrs. Cooper excels at guiding and engaging. "She's not just a teacher or even a mentor - she deals with us as adolescents and burgeoning scholars," said one student. MICHAEL HOLMES, High School of American Studies at Lehman College (HSAS) Honors Chemistry, Honors Biology, Film Growing up on a farm in North Carolina, Michael Holmes' interest in science had an explosive start when he began experimenting with chemical reactions and explosive devices, among other things. Armed with chemistry degrees from North Carolina Central University, Mr. Holmes started as a researcher at a variety of prominent institutions before turning his attention - and making significant contributions - to teaching. Using innovative techniques, he empowers students to discover concepts on their own, and creates a sense of intrigue in the classroom that appeals to different learning styles. Many students comment that Mr. Holmes keeps after them "until they get it," and that he loves to illustrate how scientific thinking can be translated to other disciplines. Not surprisingly, one student who said she didn't like chemistry when she entered Mr. Holmes' class is now planning to be a pre-med major in college. Michael Klimetz, John Dewey High School Earth Science, Physics, AP Physics, Material Science, Geology Michael Klimetz says that from his father, a civil engineer, he imbibed a respect for measurement and quantitative analysis. Like his father, Mr. Klimetz went to City College, and then entered a doctoral program at SUNY Albany and Rutgers. After challenging conventional wisdom on Southeast Asian plate tectonics - research that derailed a university career but that was eventually validated - he responded to an ad and ended up at John Dewey, where he has been teaching for the last 14 years. His award-winning students consistently mention his resource-rich web site, eight tons of rock specimens, and 45,000 scientific volumes. Colleagues praise the time he spends preparing hands-on experiments, how hard he works to adjust his methods of explanation, and his focus on creating a comfortable environment where students can learn and exercise critical inquiry. A former student summarized it best when he stated that Mr. Klimetz "observes, listens, and answers every student." RICHARD LEE, Bronx High School of Science Biology, AP Biology, Research A graduate of Bronx Science, Richard Lee's passion for science continued while attending City College and Columbia University. Although he had a brief stint as a rock station DJ, he eventually joined Bronx Science and has been teaching there for 20 years. Mr. Lee is known for his success rate at the Intel Science Talent Search--70 of his students have been semifinalists, seven were finalists and two were Top 10 winners. Students and colleagues say his core strengths include sympathy for struggling students, individual attention, total engagement, and inductive teaching. They also acknowledge his success in adjusting to a new generation of learners, and note that his devotion can be seen in the countless weekends and holidays he spends helping students. A colleague best summarized Mr. Lee by stating that he "Eats, sleeps, and breathes the students at Bronx Science." FREDRICK NELSON, Wings Academy Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus Raised in Jamaica, Fredrick Nelson credits his mother with teaching the determination, hard work, and self-sacrifice that he put to use while earning degrees from the University of the West Indies and City College. Mr. Nelson came to Wings Academy six years ago and immediately began imparting his vision: mathematics is a language, and to speak it makes understanding technology and successful careers possible. Famous for detailed, careful preparation, he always aims to help students realize that they can solve problems themselves. These "eureka moments" create confidence, empower students, and build student-teacher loyalty - inspiring joy and engagement. Infectious enthusiasm and confidence-building, with careful attention to skill-development, continually impacts Mr. Nelson's students. "He has a great way of helping us understand," says one student. "After taking his class, I want to be a math professor." HOMER PANTELOGLOU, High School of Economics and Finance Honors Living Environment, Marine Biology, AP Biology, Introduction to Business The son of Greek immigrants, Homer Panteloglou was the first member of his family to go to college. At Hofstra, he developed a passion for both biology and teaching. Despite being discouraged from pursuing a teaching career because he is legally blind, Mr. Panteloglou has had incredible success in the classroom for the last 10 years. "Mr. P" is a master at creating an environment where students are free to ask questions, addressing obstacles that prevent learning, and patiently pushing unmotivated students. Students comment on his creativity in terms of reaching every student, while colleagues note his development of Honors and AP courses, and a popular tutoring program called "Bagels and Biology." "Out of 13 years of school, no teacher has done so much for me. I never thought an adult could care so much, and I wanted to perform well because of him," commented a former student. NICOLA VITALE, Banana Kelly High School Physics, Algebra, Environmental Science, Thinking Math & Science Coming from a family of teachers and overcoming a childhood learning disability, Nicola Vitale gravitated toward hands-on learning and applied mathematics. After graduating from SUNY Albany, and working as a stage carpenter, he started teaching at Banana Kelly. While earning a masters degree, he began to rethink how science should be taught and implemented his new approach at Banana Kelly. Ten years later, and still at Banana Kelly, Mr. Vitale is regarded as a teacher of teachers. He's frequently praised by peers for his ability to strip concepts to fundamental levels, foster creativity and curiosity, and transform the mathematical study from right and wrong to concepts and logic. Collaborating on a mathematics literacy program for underserved populations, a City College professor noted the rarity of "teachers who combine Nic's knowledge of the subject, knowledge about students, and commitment to teaching." SOURCE Fund for the City of New York George Sopko, Stanton Public Relations & Marketing, GSopko@StantonPRM.com, +1-646-502-3507; or Mary McCormick, Fund for the City of New York, MMcCormick@FCNY.org, +1-212-925-6675