Awardees receives $5,000 plus $2,500 for either the math or science programs at their school. Only seven teachers receive the award each year.
The award recognizes educators that use exceptional teaching methods to reach their students and spark their interest in STEM subjects.
Erica Guzman teaches math at the Civic Leadership Academy in Corona. She was born and raised in Brooklyn by Dominican immigrants, and graduated from City College. She started teaching math in 2005.
“If I can convince students that hard work and dedication are what gets you far in life, and that natural talent or circumstances alone will not do that, my class will have been a success,” Guzman said. “Helping a student who has struggled to succeed is all the motivation I need.”
Krishna Mahabir teaches physics, robotics, and GeoHazards at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, where he has worked for the last 18 years. A trained geologist, he reintroduced science competitions back to the school’s large population of newly arrived immigrants. Students from his classes have won competitions over students from elite schools.
Wendy Dunson-DelValle teaches Living Environment and environmental science at Brooklyn High School of the Arts in Boerum Hill. Since 2002, she has inspired her students through interesting class experiments and guest lecturers.
Martina Gately teaches algebra at James Madison High School in the Madison neighborhood of Brooklyn. She was originally from Dublin and didn't plan on staying in Brooklyn, but after teaching at the 4,000-student high school for six months in 2002, her plans changed.
People have described her classroom as a magical place with the ability to increase the confidence of students, not only in mathematics, but in general.
“This year’s winners bring excitement, rigor, innovation, and commitment into their classrooms. Their students develop confidence and a life-long love of science and mathematics,” said Mary McCormick, president of the Fund for the City of New York, which presents the award. “These teachers are the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night to help their students achieve success.”