Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) and Assemblyman David G. McDonough (19th Assembly District) recently honored Seaford High School teacher Stephen Bongiovi on being chosen as the 2006 New York State Teacher of the Year. The two legislators presented Mr. Bongiovi with a resolution, which they jointly sponsored in the State Legislature, recognizing his extraordinary achievement.
"Mr. Bongiovi truly epitomizes what being a teacher is all about. He cares about his students, goes out of his way to help them learn, and teaches them about not only English, but the importance of helping others and serving their community," said Senator Fuschillo. "It is my pleasure to not only congratulate Mr. Bongiovi on receiving this highly selective and prestigious honor, but also to thank him for devoting so much time and energy to helping the children of Seaford succeed in both the classroom and in life."
Mr. Bongiovi has been an English teacher at Seaford High School for the past thirty three years, and is currently the chairman of the English department. He is also a student council advisor, was a charter member of the Seaford High School 9-11 Memorial Committee, which created a memorial to honor the five Seaford High School graduates who perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and serves as "The Voice of Seaford" at the school’s sporting events.
According to the New York State Education Department, the process of choosing the Teacher of the Year is rigorous. All applicants’ portfolios are read and scored by two outside readers, the scores are averaged, and the teachers with the top ten scores become the semifinalists. The semifinalists‘ portfolios are sent to a different committee and are again read and scored by the members of the committee. The scores are averaged, and the top five become the finalists. Education Department staff interview representatives from each of the finalists’ schools and speak with colleagues, administrators, students, parents, and community members.
The finalists then come to Albany for an interview with the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee consists of representatives from NYSUT, NEA/NY, ASCD, the School Administrators Association of NYS, the NYS School Boards Association, the United Federation of Teachers, the NYSPTA, and the NAACP. A student representative and the former and current teacher of the year also sit on the committee. After the interview, the committee considers all application components and votes to choose the State Teacher of the Year.
Now in its 36th year, the State Teacher of the Year Program is organized by the New York State Education Department and cosponsored by NYSUT, NEA/NY, and the Association for School Curriculum Development (ASCD), the SMARTer Kids Foundation, and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The program is run in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by CCSSO.
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