MAHOPAC, N.Y, - Mahopac High School teachers Michael Mahoney and Elizabeth Stephans, along with 273 other educators from across the state, have been invited to join the New York State Master Teacher Program (NYSMTP) in partnership with the State University of New York and Math for America.

In effort of strengthening the state’s K-12 STEM education, the NYSMTP honors the work of the highest-performing STEM teachers by establishing an expert community dedicated to developing expertise in teaching science, technology, computer science, robotics, coding, engineering, and math courses across grades K-12, including Advanced Placement, honors, Regents and International Baccalaureate levels. These educators will join the network of Master Teachers created in 2013, bringing the total number of Master Teachers across New York State to 980.

“Education is the cornerstone to success, and it is the brilliant, dedicated teachers in New York who make a difference in countless lives and inspire the leaders of tomorrow,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated on the NYS Education website. “Congratulations to the 275 newest members of the Master Teacher Program, who will join the ranks of the top educators in the state as they work to further their skills and their impact on students in every corner of this great state.”

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School Superintendent Anthony DiCarlo said Mahoney and Stephens are each “a true testament to our district-wide commitment to prepare each and every student for college and career readiness with a strong STEM foundation.”

Like their fellow Master Teachers, Mahoney and Stephens are active beyond their classrooms.

Mahoney earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science education from SUNY New Paltz and has worked at Mahopac High School for 20 years. He has taught Advanced Placement (AP) biology, AP environmental and living environment, and Syracuse University Project advanced forensics.

Mahoney is actively engaged with the Teachers Teaching Teachers program that trains educators in new content, skills and pedagogy. He also created a program to help new teachers transition into their profession. Admittedly, Mahoney says he learns as much from them as they learn from him. He said he’s excited about his new project that allows students to work side-by-side with STEM researchers in Costa Rica to preserve the rainforest. As an NYS Master Teacher, Mahoney is looking forward to joining his peers in various professional learning teams. His focus is learning and teaching others about reaching the new generation of students, the digital natives. His approach to learning can be summed up by Henry Ford’s statement, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

Stephens earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a concentration in biotechnology from the University of Delaware, her Master of Science degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Master of Arts degree in secondary education from Mercy College. In addition to teaching Regents Living Environment, Introduction to Science Research and Advanced Science Research at Mahopac High School for eight years, Stephens has been an active participant in various schoolwide initiatives and committees and is the acting science department chair. As a result of employing the “flipped classroom” model, Stephens provides students with a differentiated approach to learning, using class time to engage them with “minds-on” activities such as simulation and role-playing activities that reinforce content.

Stevens enjoys the opportunity to build strong relationships with her students in science research, a multi-year program where they create, complete and present original STEM research of their interests. Outside of class, Stephens enjoys horseback riding and camping with her husband and three children. Her professional interests include research on technology integration and its influence on child and adolescent brain development. As an NYS Master Teacher, she is a member of the Digital Native Professional Learning Team and participated in the Safety of Genetically Engineered Food, 3-D Printing, and the Statistical Inference mini-courses.

Throughout their four-year participation in the Program, Master Teachers:

• Receive a $15,000 stipend annually.

• Engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities throughout the academic year.

• Work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers.

• Attend required regional cohort meetings, participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year.

Article provided by Mahopac School District