This Year's Big Apple Award Recipients

This year’s 48 recipients represent a diversity of grade levels, subject areas, and each of the five New York City boroughs. This year, for the first time ever, there is a winner under every superintendency. In addition to continuing their outstanding work in the classroom, these model educators will also serve as Big Apple Fellows during the 2023 - 2024 school year.

Philip Asaro

District 75 Award Recipient 
P.S. X811 (75X811) 

Special Education Teacher

Mr. Asaro is a very enthusiastic and reflective practitioner. He ensures that all students in his class, regardless of their disability or cultural background, are exposed to effective and appropriate instruction. Mr. Asaro is mindful of the needs each student has and finds opportunities for them to personally connect to the instructional materials. Students in his class are encouraged to engage in peer-to-peer learning and self-reflection, which have proven to increase behavioral skill development, self-advocacy, and independence

Kemeisha Barrett

Community School District 17 Award Recipient 
Ebbets Field Middle School (17K352)

Middle School Math Teacher 

Ms. Barrett has created a warm, nurturing, and welcoming environment for all scholars. Students are not afraid to make mistakes or take risks. Ms. Barrett is passionate about teaching Mathematics and provides students with opportunities to make their thinking visible and work collaboratively with their peers. She believes that with the instructional practices, interventions and supports provided, success is the only option for her scholars.

Naiomi Benn

Community School District 18 Award Recipient 
I.S. 211- John Wilson (18K211)

Middle School English Language Arts Teacher 

Ms. Benn fosters relationships with her students and builds trusting relationships and positive rapport with scholars in authentic and culturally responsive and sustaining ways. Ms. Benn demonstrates effective and impactful leadership in and out of the classroom and displays relentless efforts to build strong family communities. Outside of the classroom Ms. Benn is a cheerleading and step coach for a group of students at her school. She is not only their coach but she also serves as a mentor to advise them on life decisions outside of the classroom. 

Brooke Berry-Wolf

Theater Award Recipient
Talent Unlimited High School (02M519)

Musical Theater Teacher

Mrs. Berry-Wolf is a passionate and dedicated teacher who facilitates a student-led classroom environment and believes in the power of theater to reach all types of learners. She encourages her students to lean into aspects of their real identity and explore this difficult work, in an effort to bring their most authentic selves to their theatrical work. Students delve into what makes them unique and what should be celebrated, such as their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, culture and religion. Once young actors embrace these important aspects of their identity and use this information to bring a piece of themselves to their characters, their acting work is transformed and feels rich and authentic

Bianca Bibiloni

Community School District 24 Award Recipient 
P.S. 14 Fairview (24Q014)

Elementary School Science Teacher

Ms. Bibiloni has been an active member of the P.S.14 community for the past 13 years. Since she began her journey as an educator, she has been on a mission to help students become problem solving scientists. She has cultivated many community partnerships for P.S. 14, such as the UNITY team (which focuses on equity based practices and culturally responsive sustaining education) and has championed the school’s Sustainable STEAM. She embeds culturally responsive and sustainability practices into her own classroom instruction while building on student agency to prepare them for the challenges of today’s world.

Lewis Cabarrouy

Bronx High School Districts (7, 9, 12) Award Recipient 
Bronx High School for Medical Science (09X413)

Living Environment and Advanced Placement Biology Teacher 

Mr. Cabarrouy’s approach to teaching is based on leveraging strong relationships with every student to identify and maximize their individual strengths, encourage inquiry and collaboration, and create a learning environment that promotes exploration and discovery.

Bilmary Cepeda

Community School District 12 Award Recipient 
P.S. 150 Charles James Fox (12X150)

Second Grade Elementary School Teacher 

Ms. Cepeda embodies the qualities and dispositions of an exemplary educator. Her instructional practices and impact on student learning set her apart from her peers, but what truly differentiates her is her dedication to her students. She has created a classroom in which all students not only succeed, but thrive. Ms. Cepeda makes learning fun! She truly cares about each and every student and has dedicated her career to ensuring their success. Ms. Cepeda brings her energy and love for learning into everything she does. She is always willing to be the first to try a new strategy, seek feedback, or jump at an opportunity to learn from others.

Franshesca Chaterpaul

Community School District 16 Award Recipient 
Brighter Choice Community School (16K627) 

4th Grade Teacher/Donors Choose Ambassador/Teacher Spokesperson

Ms. Chaterpaul is a leader and a learner amongst teachers in our District 16 community. This school year, Ms. Chaterpaul volunteered to be a District Engagement Ambassador, opening up her classroom to teachers across District 16. In her classroom, Ms. Chaterpaul consistently builds student agency, makes thoughtful groupings, provides strategies for memorializing what students are learning, and creates differentiated stations across her classroom.

Andre Clark

Community School District 5 Award Recipient 
Frederick Douglass Academy (05M499)

Special Education Teacher

Mr. Clark is a Fredrick Douglas Academy graduate (class of 2011). Mr. Clark brings a personal perspective of college preparatory expectations to both his students and colleagues. He is an exemplary teacher; his calm demeanor and professional manner have allowed him to be very effective in connecting with his students. For the past two years, Mr. Clark has co-coached Fredrick Douglas Academy’s Varsity Boys' Basketball Team and has been able to use his experience as a former captain and excellent player at Fredrick Douglas Academy to help guide his scholar athletes. 

Carmen Coward

Community School District 13 Award Recipient 
M.S. 113 Ronald Edmonds Learning Center (13K113)

English as a New Language Teacher 

Ms. Coward teaches a class of newly arrived emerging English students, mainly from Latin American countries. Ms. Coward adapts her teaching materials by using technology to create subtitles for her Spanish lessons and a translation app to allow students to hear the lesson in Spanish and English. Ms. Coward has a warm, caring demeanor and has high expectations for her students. What is beautiful about Ms. Coward’s class is that students are encouraged to learn English in any way they find helpful. Ms. Coward always ensures that all students understand the meaning of the lesson and how to accomplish the activities while still requiring independent learning and collaboration. 

Diandra D'Amico

Manhattan High Schools District Award Recipient 
Harvey Milk High School (02M586)

High School English Teacher

Mrs. D’Amico prioritizes forming strong interpersonal relationships with all of her students so they feel safe and supported in bringing their authentic selves to the classroom. She encourages students to draw on their own experiences and perspectives when analyzing literary works and engaging in classroom discussions. Her work in trauma-responsive practices and Nonviolent Communication informs her role as the Social Emotional Learning lead at her school. She is approachable and open to feedback, and works collaboratively with students to develop norms and expectations that reflect the needs of everyone in the classroom. Mrs. D’Amico promotes the idea that students can empower themselves through being active participants in, and advocates of, their own learning. 

Anastasia Demidova

Community School District 21 Award Recipient 
P.S. K225 The Eileen E. Zaglin (21K225)

Kindergarten Teacher/ELA Coach 

Ms. Demidova is an exceptional kindergarten teacher who keeps her students’ interests, needs, and abilities at the center of all that she does. Ms. Demidova’s lessons reflect all the supports and scaffolds her students need to succeed in the lesson and learning, as well as resources that are prominently displayed throughout the room. Her teaching reflects this as well, as she provides many visuals, and partners her Multilingual Language Learners students to allow them to exchange ideas and speak in their first language, and translates for her students. Ms. Demidova taps into the natural curiosity and enthusiasm of her students to move them through each phase of the lesson. Ms. Demidova makes her students feel safe, loved, and confident to take risks. She fosters their love of themselves and of learning through her feedback.

Linda Eskenazi

Community School District 20 Award Recipient 
The SEEALL Academy (20K180)
Middle School Math Teacher 
Ms. Eskenazi always tells her students that years ago she skipped the 8th grade because District 20 had a program that combined 2 grades in one year! While Ms. Eskenazi may not have completed 8th grade herself, she has stayed in her district and taught 8th grade for 30 years to the amazing young people that she calls her “children.” One thing that stays consistent through her years of teaching is her desire to create a classroom where all learners are comfortable enough to take risks. Ms. Eskenazi does this by having her students know they are an integral part of the classroom environment. She sets high expectations for all her students in her classroom. 

Sherry Fass

Dance Award Recipient
I.S. 227 Louis Armstrong (30Q227)

Middle School Dance Teacher 

Ms. Fass is a dedicated and welcoming educator who empowers and validates her students and their potential. She has a strong knowledge of who her students are, and, through dance, has created an environment where her students are independent learners and work well together. Ms. Fass views student success individually for each student. She prioritizes building student confidence, especially during the practice of the dances they are learning. Ms. Fass has developed partnerships with a variety of cultural institutions, including Alvin Ailey and Ballet Hispanico.

Jazmine Gray

Queens South High Schools Districts Award Recipient 
Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School (28Q620)

11th Grade English Language Arts & Creative Writing Teacher 

Ms. Gray is a creative writing teacher who sparks a passion for writing in all of her students. Her classroom is one where students don’t feel stressed but comfortable to be themselves and express their ideas without judgment. Ms. Gray builds strong relationships with students and they see her as a trusted adult that they can open up to and ask for advice about personal and academic goals. Ms. Gray engages her students in school-wide Poetry Slams and other engaging modalities to engage her students in culturally responsive learning that centers student agency, choice, and collaboration.

Hanan Harchol

Visual Arts Award Recipient
Art and Design High School (02M630)

Film Teacher 

Mr. Harchol cultivates and ignites a passion for filmmaking within his students and teaches them lessons on perseverance and responsibility. Mr. Harchol creates a safe environment for his students to be themselves and share their truths and stories through film. Students in Mr. Harchol’s class are exposed to many opportunities that have led to numerous awards and internships. Mr. Harchol’s ability to give his students authentic film making experiences coupled with his knowledge of the filmmaking industry makes him a one-of-a-kind educator. 

Luvenia Harris

Charter Award Recipient 
KIPP Infinity Charter School

Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) Teacher 

Ms. Harris wears many hats within her school community and she leads with love. She sets a high bar for her students and provides them with the scaffolds necessary to reach those high expectations. Her fierce advocacy and prioritization of student and family needs is at the forefront of her mission to ensure that her students receive equitable and accessible 

Rebecca Hart

Community School District 14 Award Recipient 
Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School (14K414)

First Grade Teacher

Ms. Hart is outstanding in her determination to empower her students with autonomy. Ms. Hart works diligently both within and outside of her classroom for her students' success so that they feel “seen, heard, and understood.” She demonstrates flexibility during her instruction by providing the necessary scaffolds and corrective feedback in order to tend to the individual needs of students. Her classroom serves as a model for not only her school, but also as a model for District 14.

Maha Hasen

Bronx High Schools (Districts 8, 10, 11) Award Recipient 
Fordham High School for the Arts (10X437)

Computer Science Teacher 

Ms. Hasen’s classroom is a model of how to implement student independence; she is a true facilitator of learning. In her school community, Ms. Hasen is a master teacher and coaches new teachers. She is the head of the Math department and was integral in creating a STEM department with the school by merging the math and science departments. She also created the computer science curriculum for her school, joined Upper Line Code, and has applied for the FutureReadyNYC initiative. 

Karen Heil

Community School District 11 Award Recipient 
P.S. 175 City Island (11X175)

Middle School Science Teacher 

Ms. Heil has taught for over twenty years. She works with the City Island Oyster Reef, Billion Oyster Project, and the NYC Parks Department to help establish a living shoreline and develop an outdoor classroom. She trained her previous 7th grade students to be role models and leaders with the Oyster initiative. They are now working with the new 7th grade to restore the oyster population and care for the shoreline. She currently has her students developing a prototype to help oysters re-establish in the waters along City Island. Many of her students come back and continue to work with her on the shoreline projects. She is considered the “true face of P.S. 175.” 

Virginia "Tess" Hinchman

Brooklyn North High Schools District Award Recipient 
Williamsburg Preparatory School (14K561)

Special Education/English Language Arts 

Ms. Hinchman teaches Special Education English Language Arts. She is a brilliant teacher who works seamlessly with her co-teachers to design culturally relevant and accessible lessons for all her students. She grounds her work in education science and her students' IEPs act as roadmaps for how the teachers can meet their needs. In the classroom, Ms. Hinchman co-creates conditions where students are empowered to be facilitators of their own learning and demonstrate competency of concepts through multiple modalities (writing, discussion, critique, etc). There are always opportunities for students to make connections to real-world concepts. Her classes are consistently well-paced and engage all students actively.

Marsha Joseph

Community School District 29 Award Recipient 
P.S./I.S. 295 (29Q295)

Middle School English Language Arts Teacher 

Ms. Joseph brings a love of learning to all her students. She wants all her students to believe in themselves and develop the tools and mindsets needed to succeed academically and in life. Her classroom shines with student ownership, high expectations, and respect. Ms. Joseph also contributes to the wider school community through her ongoing involvement in preparing young debaters, grant writing and supporting instructional decision-making as a member of the school's Instructional Leadership Team. 

James Laieta

Community School District 31 Award Recipient 
P.S. 8 Shirlee Solomon (31R008)

Fifth Grade Gifted and Talented Teacher 

Mr. Laieta believes that student empowerment and student voice are paramount to his classroom pedagogy. Mr. Laieta has created a culture in his classroom that invites all students to succeed. Mr. Laieta promotes a climate of respect, love, and a beautifully decorated classroom that exhibits a “home away from home” for his students. His students are eager to come to his class each day which fosters a love of learning with daily student led discussions and debates. His students lead the way to a well developed learning environment which prepares them for Middle School and the years to follow. Mr. Laieta’s Fifth Grade Scholars leave his class ready to voice their opinions; and make this world a safer, and stable place to live in. Families are Mr. Laieta’s priority and they are often contacted personally to discuss the progress of their children and to celebrate their success stories.

Tiearra LeGrand

Community School District 9 Award Recipient 
P.S. 126 Dr. Marjorie H. Dunbar (09X126)

Special Education Teacher 

Ms. LeGrand has built a community where her students of all academic levels are comfortable in taking risks. Ms. LeGrand seamlessly incorporates scaffolded tasks, partner work, graphic organizers and language support into the lessons, therefore maximizing opportunities for student learning, critical thinking, and peer assessment. Ms. LeGrand is a model teacher and is highly involved in her school community, which happens to be the same school and community where she grew up.

Jessica Malone

Community School District 4 Award Recipient
M.S. 224- Manhattan East School for Arts & Academics (04M224)
6th and 8th Grade English Language Arts and Lead Advisory 
Ms. Malone has created an inclusive class where students can be themselves and understand and learn from their peers. Students are given the opportunity to engage in literature that ranges from topics such as culture, race, sexual orientation and religion. Ms. Malone also starts her class with a mindfulness moment to allow her students to either decompress from the day or show gratitude for their day. She masterfully incorporates music from different cultures at the start of her class to allow students to connect with or expose them to a new musical vibration. Her students are empowered to take on various leadership roles in class.

Ashley Martin

Community School District 7 Award Recipient 
P.S. 25 Bilingual School (07X025)

Grade 3 Horizon Teacher

Ms. Martin is an exemplary elementary school teacher who, as she states, “loves [her] students.” She has cultivated a classroom environment where students are intellectually engaged, and deeply valued, and where differences are appreciated and celebrated. Her classroom is both welcoming and affirming to students of color and students of diverse learning backgrounds. Ms. Martin’s instruction, while highly structured, also provides students with ample opportunity to engage in conversation with each other, affords differentiated access points for the diverse learners in the class, and allows for flexibility with the expression of learning. Students engage in relevant, grade-appropriate tasks that are of high interest to them.

Daniel Matos

Physical Education Award Recipient
The Bayard Taylor School (02M158)

Elementary School Physical Education Teacher 

Mr. Matos has created a positive and inclusive learning environment where he fosters a sense of belonging among his students, ensuring that each individual feels valued, respected, and empowered in the classroom. He provides physical education instruction in multiple ways, making use of technology, visuals, and the students to demonstrate skills and concepts. He provides individualized specific and corrective feedback, positive reinforcement, and multiple opportunities for all students to answer questions and reflect on their learning.

Keri McCormick

Community School District 26 Award Recipient 
P.S. 133Q (26Q133)

3K Teacher 

Ms. McCormick uses a multi-sensory approach to teaching students and incorporates social-emotional learning in her lessons. She utilizes movement-based learning to help keep students engaged while making learning fun. There is an atmosphere of genuine caring and warmth in her classroom and Ms. McCormick has a deep appreciation of the mosaic of cultures that are represented in New York City. Ms. McCormick consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that her students are learning and growing every single day.

Kerry McGarvey

Community School District 25 Award Recipient 
P.S. 24- Andrew Jackson (25Q024)

Elementary School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) 

Ms. McGarvey strives to provide students with equitable practices that will provide her learners with the skills they will need in middle school, in high school, and in college and in various careers. She creates opportunities for students to learn about topics that will make a positive impact on the community. This allows students to see themselves as change makers and gets them ready to help their outside community. Ms. McGarvey ensures that she aligns her curriculum to make connections to what they are learning in the classroom. Ms. McGarvey’s projects explore social issues, and allows students to practice collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking.

Carla McKenzie

Community School District 23 Award Recipient 
I.S. 392 (23K392)

Middle School English Language Arts Teacher 

Ms. McKenzie is an empathetic, strategic, and extremely skilled educator who embodies the qualities and characteristics of excellence that she fosters in her students. She sets high expectations and her classroom and community impact is driven by her love of teaching and learning. Ms. McKenzie promotes individuality and an appreciation for students' backgrounds, cultures and experiences by starting with them. She sees students as assets who come with a wealth of knowledge and experience and provides opportunities for them to express themselves and their experiences. 

Ileana Mercado

Community School District 1 Award Recipient
P.S. 34 Franklin D. Roosevelt (01M034)

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher 

Ms. Mercado has been an educator for 18 years and teaches her students the importance of self-agency and independence. By creating a culture of care and kindness, her students feel seen, loved, and thrive within their unique giftings and talents. Her PreK classroom is the epicenter of joy, love, and genius. Ms. Mercado is also a mentor and a tremendous asset to the learning community, including students, colleagues, and families.

Christina Mesk

Community School District 15 Award Recipient 
P.S. 1 The Bergen School (15K001)

Fifth Grade Special Education Teacher 

Ms. Mesk has been an educator at P.S. 1 for nearly 20 years. She has created a self-contained classroom that provides a very nurturing, supportive learning environment for all her students and their families. Her entire classroom is student-centered and she has established a culture in which mistakes are celebrated and risk-taking is encouraged. Students with all learning styles feel empowered to speak, read, write, and listen independently through the vast instructional strategies that Ms. Mesk uses on a daily basis. Ms. Mesk is an alumna of the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms program and the Transatlantic Educators Dialogue program; she partners with local CBOs and nonprofits to bring virtual exchange to her classroom. 

Linda Noble

CUNY and Urban Assembly Award Recipient 
Brooklyn College Academy (22K555)

Global History Teacher 

Dr. Noble teaches Global History. She is a dedicated and passionate educator who is not only invested in the intellectual growth of her students, but she also takes the time to develop their social and emotional capacity. Dr. Noble acts as a facilitator of learning, who purposefully designs learning activities that have multiple entry points, requires students to authentically work with one another, and gives space for students to direct and assess their own learning

Chante Orane

Community School District 3 Award Recipient 
West Prep Academy (03M421)

Middle School Science Teacher 

Ms. Orane has created a classroom where students feel safe to have courageous conversations, share their strengths, and contribute to a learning environment where all students are active participants. Ms. Orane’s classroom fosters a desire for strong scientific knowledge and reasoning, with emphasis on understanding the process of discovery. With this type of teaching, students believe in their ability to contribute to every lesson. 

Gabriella Ramaglia

Community School District 27 Award Recipient 
New York City Academy for Discovery (27Q306)

Elementary School Special Education Teacher 

Ms. Ramaglia uses her students' IEP's and gets to know her students and their families' cultural backgrounds. She believes it is important to value her student’s backgrounds and views related to their experiences, culture, language and race. Her classroom embodies a growth mindset where students know they can succeed and they belong in their learning community. Ms. Ramaglia’s goal is to provide equitable opportunities for all students to be at the center of their learning, in order to develop their social emotional skills, academic growth and personal goals. 

Janet Ramos

Community School District 6 Award Recipient 
P.S./I.S. 187 Hudson Cliffs (06M187)

Kindergarten Teacher 

Ms. Ramos’ lived experience as a Multilingual Language Learner shapes how she collaboratively builds her kindergarten classroom each year. Ms. Ramos strives to ensure that her students feel that the space is one shared by all. Ms. Ramos’ classroom is a model for center learning and her daily lessons exemplify the district-wide cooperative approach to building on the language strength Multilingual Learners bring to school. Ms. Ramos is an excellent ambassador for early childhood learning environments that empower children and their families in District 6. 

Khristine Raymond

Music Award Recipient 
Legacy School of the Arts (19K907)

Middle School Music Teacher 

Ms. Raymond actively seeks to understand her students' strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles, and by programming music that is culturally relevant and meaningful, she creates an inclusive and engaging learning environment for all of her students. Ultimately, Ms. Raymond’s goal is to help each and every student achieve their full potential. 

Tiffany Reyes

Community School District 8 Award Recipient 
Urban Institute of Mathematics (08X371)

Middle School Math Teacher 

Ms. Reyes is a middle school math teacher. Ms. Reyes’ knowledge, passion, and creativity were incredibly evident from the very beginning as a teacher. Her acumen surrounding 8th grade mathematics is unparalleled and she is extremely committed to making math content relatable to middle schoolers. Ms. Reyes’ classroom is a model classroom, not only for her peers, but also serves as the model during district-led visitations with other middle schools

Jennifer Rivera

Community School District 32 Award Recipient 
P.S. /I.S. 384 Frances E. Carter (32K384)

Middle School English Language Arts Teacher

Ms. Rivera has created a classroom environment where students not only feel empowered, but are also encouraged to make up, re-do, and resubmit their work if it does not meet the criteria. Students are able to set goals before each lesson and are provided with opportunities to present their work in a manner that best suits their particular learning style. In order to build and develop the confidence level of her students, Ms. Rivera teaches them how to self-assess and peer assess. She monitors student assessment by using portfolios and has made it common practice for students to give each other feedback and always include the suggestions made by their peers. Ms. Rivera demonstrates a strong commitment to community collaboration in her educational approach. Ms. Rivera actively directs an after-school program in association with Girls Inc., imparting valuable lessons in financial literacy to middle school girls, emphasizing the significance of investing in their future. 

Marie Russell

Community School District 28 Award Recipient
P.S. 174 William Sidney Mount (28Q174)

Fifth Grade Gifted and Talented Teacher 

It is clear that Ms. Russell is not only a teacher whose students respect and love, but one who is respected and loved by her colleagues, supervisors, and families. Ms. Russel has taught at P.S. 174 for over 17 years. She thinks and acts outside of the box as she brings experiences like the Stock Market Game, the Young Debaters and Girls Who Game to the school, among a myriad of other partnerships. Ms. Russell has brought back alumni to share their stories, experiences and give her feedback on her approaches in order to inspire her current students and help her improve on what she offers to her current scholars

Shayleen Sanchez

Community School District 22 Award Recipient 
P.S. 109 (22K109)

Middle School Math Teacher 

Ms. Sanchez’s rapport with her students and staff is incredible and her lessons are always lively. She is also deeply knowledgeable in regards to math pedagogy and is able to create thoughtful, accessible, and meaningful lessons. Ms. Sanchez takes the time to get to know her students and their families. Her lessons always reflect a deep understanding of her students and their communities

Nicole Sancho

District 79/Alternative High Schools and Programs Award Recipient 
Brooklyn West Alternative Learning Center (79R037)

Special Education Teacher 

Ms. Sancho demonstrates a genuine love and passion for the profession. Her lessons are well planned and executed in a way that addresses the various learning styles and needs of her students. Students are encouraged to take an active role in the lesson, and are free to share input and feedback. Ms. Sancho prepares her students for lives beyond their current age by using relevant and engaging lesson topics.

Lydia Santana

Queens North High Schools District Award Recipient 
Newtown High School (24Q455)

High School English/Advanced Placement English Language and Composition/Sophomore Honors Teacher 

Ms. Santana cultivates a classroom culture where students are highly confident and actively express their interest in learning and engage in the learning activities. Ms. Santana demonstrates a high level of respect and care for her students in the way she communicates with them and in the effort she displays to design highly engaging lessons. She takes an active interest in getting to know students well and then regularly finds ways to make daily connections between the learning and their interests, cultures and future aspirations regularly.

Sonia Santana

Community School District 10 Award Recipient 
PS 56 Norwood Heights (10X056)

Third Grade English as a New Language Teacher

Ms. Santana is an extremely conscientious and skilled elementary school teacher who demonstrates sustained focus on the whole child. She uses her personal immigration experience to build a supportive class community for both newcomers and less recent immigrant students. Ms. Santana effectively connects book themes acknowledging the personal attributes and experiences of coming to a new country and learning a new language. Families are encouraged to participate in teaching and learning both at school and home. 

Tennysha St. John

Charter Award Recipient 
KIPP Infinity Charter School

Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) Teacher 

Ms. St. John is dedicated, loving, giving, and believes that radical love and education are the keys to freedom and liberation. She believes in restorative teaching practices and uplifts the stories of her students and inspires them to be their best selves. Ms. St. John’s classroom is filled with joy and she ensures that all of her students receive the best educational experience

Diana Stark

New Visions District Award Recipient 
Young Women's Leadership School, Astoria (30Q286)

High School English and Advanced Placement English Teacher 

Ms. Stark facilitates a highly effective classroom where students lead their own learning. Ms. Stark creates authentic projects that honor student identity and choice, all while challenging students to find their voices via sharing perspectives and critiquing their world. In Ms. Stark’s classroom, all students learn to cultivate joy in reading and writing, all while harnessing the power of the written word toward restoration and positive change.

Hyun Ju Tsoutsouras

Consortium, International & Outward Bound Schools Award Recipient 
Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights (29Q243)

Korean Language Teacher 

Ms. Tsoutsouras is a dynamic teacher that uses multiple modalities to engage her students in making cross-cultural connections. By offering exposure to Korean language, culture, and history, this class provides a unique opportunity for students to broaden their horizons and connect with communities beyond their own. Through the Korean 1 class, students are introduced to a different language and culture, which opens doors to new perspectives and experiences. Ms. Tsoutsouras finds opportunities for her students to contribute to the community through service learning and to receive scholarships from Korean organizations. She dedicates herself to learning and attends language conferences to learn about new methods to teach her students.

Angela Vigueras

Brooklyn South High Schools District Award Recipient
Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies (21K344)

Spanish Language Teacher

Mrs. Vigueras creates a classroom culture where mistakes are welcomed and are used as lessons learned; the students in her class truly are comfortable to take risks, and as a result, become agents and advocates for their own learning and growth. Mrs. Vigueras uses a wide range of pedagogical practices to ensure that all students feel success in her class. Her students perform exceptionally well on the Language Other Than English (LOTE) exam. Mrs. Vigueras spearheaded the R.I.S.E. (Reflect, Improve, Succeed, Empower) program where restorative practices are used to work with students on better decision-making skills that enable them to succeed in high school and beyond.