ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that several north country teachers are among 228 educators throughout the state to be recognized as master teachers.

The New York State Master Teacher Program is a partnership with the State University of New York and Math for America. It celebrates the work of the highest-performing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers by establishing an expert community that’s dedicated to developing expertise in the areas of content, pedagogy, and students’ families and communities.

Area teachers who are included in the New York State Master Teacher Program are:


Belleville-Henderson Central School District: Barbara Bibbins (Emeritus)

Carthage Central School District: Michael Pierce, Toni LaPoint (Emeritus), Valerie Pond (Emeritus), Heather Randall-Neville (Emeritus)

General Brown Central School District: Susan Menapace

Indian River Central School District: Lori Felder, Natalie Hurley, Andrea Inserra, Tyna Meeks, Bobbie Trudeau, Lindsey Steblen (Emeritus)

La Fargeville Central School District: Robert Augustus Jr. (Emeritus), Katie Compo (Emeritus), Bridget DeMarse (Emeritus)

Lyme Central School District: Beth Faulknham, Deborah Wilkinson (Emeritus)

South Jefferson Central School District: Benita Cataldo, Kerry Kennett, William Fairchild (Emeritus), Jennifer Fraser (Emeritus), Andrew Larsen (Emeritus), Erin Wiley (Emeritus)

Thousand Islands Central School District: Deborah Babcock (Emeritus), Lisa Ingerson (Emeritus), Edward Oliver Jr. (Emeritus)


Beaver River Central School District: Timothy Freed (Emeritus), Jaime Gates (Emeritus), Michelle Watkins (Emeritus)

Copenhagen Central School District: Angela Schermerhorn (Emeritus)

Lowville Academy & Central School District: Mallory Augustus, Susan Rubenzahl,


Canton Central School District: Meaghan Bartell, Kristen Betrus, James Burdick, Sandra Drechsel, Kristen Ames (Emeritus), Margaret Clemens (Emeritus), Robert Dixon (Emeritus), Laurey Rosser (Emeritus), Alicia Wentworth (Emeritus)

Edwards-Knox Central School District: Tomorrah Averill, Kelly Cusano, Shane Pickering

Gouverneur Central School District: Kassandra Robillard, Samuel Sochia

Madrid-Waddington Central School District: Troy Creurer (Emeritus), Michelle Robinson (Emeritus)

Ogdensburg City School District: Juliette Ross, Matthew Shaver, Amber Henry (Emeritus), Cristy Smith (Emeritus)

Potsdam Central School District: Joshua Brosell, April Rossiter, Jodie Tiernan, James Allott (Emeritus), Lisa Dunkelberg (Emeritus)

St. Lawrence Central School District: Darlene Bissonette (Emeritus), Majella LaRock (Emeritus)

The designation “emeritus” is given to those who successfully complete four years as New York state master teachers.

“I salute these brilliant and dedicated teachers who have made an incredible, lasting impact on New York’s future leaders,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “These 228 new members of the Master Teacher Program will join the ranks of the state’s top educators, a group who strive every day to enrich and expand the horizons of countless students in every corner of the Empire State.”

To be eligible for the program, teachers must be a certified full-time state public school teacher with at least four years of teaching experience. Kindergarten to sixth-grade teachers must be a teacher of record for science, technology/computer science, engineering or mathematics (STEM) content. For grades seven through 12, teachers must have a course load of at least 60 percent STEM courses.

A teacher of record is one who’s responsible for preparing and implementing the curriculum and assessing students.

In addition, teachers must be rated “effective” or “highly effective” on their annual professional performance review.

The newly selected master teachers have been teaching an average of 15 years. More than 76% have been in the classroom for 10 or more years, while 25% have been teaching for more than 20 years.

They’re also active beyond their classrooms, serving as curriculum department leaders or members of district- and state-level committees. In addition, they sponsor Future Cities and Science Olympiad competitions, school gardens, Robotics teams, Coding Clubs and community service organizations and serve as coaches and PTA members.

Through their four-year participation in the program, master teachers receive a $15,000 annual stipend and engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities during the academic year. They also help develop the next generation of STEM teachers.

In addition, they attend required regional meetings, and participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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