Every year NYSEC holds an event at the Annual Conference to honor the work and professionalism of English Language Arts educators. Award winners show a commitment to excellence, innovation, and creativity in teaching, mentoring, and learning.

The Awards Ceremony is one way NYSEC shows its appreciation for the award winners and how they inspire excellence in everyone, students and teachers alike.

2019 Award Winners

Educators of Excellence Winners


Mark Brooks
Broadalbin-Perth High School

Pam Motler
Ballston Spa Middle School


Dr. Marie-Therese C. Sulit
Mount St. Mary College


Daniel Callahan, Jr.
West Genessee High School

Vivian DiGennaro
John F. Kennedy High School

Gary Gnirrep
Guilderland High School

Jennifer Greco
Wellington C. Mepham High School

Jessica Hunter
Syosset High School

Christina Pepe
Shenendehowa High School

Brittany Ruisi
Herricks High School

Theresa Walter
Great South Neck High School


Kerry Chapman
Stimson Middle School

John Iorio
Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School

Christine Krowles
H.B. Mattlin Middle School


Jennifer Abramowitz
Jackson Annex Elementary School

Diane Bologna
Jackson Main Elementary School

Bernadette Johnson
Barack Obama Elementary School

Michelle Pineda
David Paterson Elementary School

Janine Sloth
Kinry Road Elementary School

Victoria Suarez
Brookhaven Elementary School

Debbie Rosenquist
Terryville Road Elementary School

Teresea Hewitt
Helen B. Duffield Elementary School

Collaborators of Excellence

Donna Scully & Lina Seaton
Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School

Michaela Caruso & Meghan Bleakley
Monroe-Woodbury High School

Early Career Scholarships

Adam Biggs
Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School

Carolyn Blanchard
Westlake Middle School

Caitlyn Fagan
Broadalbin-Perth Middle School

Dominick Mayo
Roy C. Ketcham High School

Ruth Everett Award

April Charleson
J.W. Leary Junior High

Mini-Grant Winners

Amy Eckelman
Watson Elementary School

Patricia Rand
Clarkson University

Mary Donnelly
Grand Avenue Middle School

Scott Storm
Harvest Collegiate High School

Creative Writing Awards

Short Fiction

Paige Meschon
Schalmont High School
Grade 11


Joanna Chen
Guilderland High School
Grade 9
“remember the stars of the lost”

English Record Article of the Year

“Learning Alongside Them: About Student Choice and Modern-Day Slavery”
Jacqueline Hesse
Excelsior Academy
Newburgh Enlarged City School District

Programs of Excellence

Oceanside School District and
Uniondale Union Free School District

Levittown Literacy Center
Levittown Schools

The Body Electric
South Huntington Schools

Schenectady Smart Scholars Early
College High School
Schenectady City School District

Building World-Class Leaders at Wyandanch Elementary Schools
Wyandanch Union Free School District

2019 Fellow Award Winner

Each year, the Executive Board of the New York State English Council recognizes a member of the council for giving unconditionally to the membership and the students of New York State.

The Executive Board of the New York State English Council has chosen Michelle Peterson-Davis for the 2019 Fellow Award. We honor Michelle for her dedication to education and for her outstanding service to the Council.

From her early years as an educator in the classroom, Michelle has made the recognition of each student a priority. In Finley Middle School, she taught eighth grade English to heterogeneous classes and both created and implemented curriculum for the Special Education Inclusion Program. As English Department Chair in the Jonas E. Salk Middle School, Michelle coordinated the implementation of the Reading Plus program in seventh and eighth grade AIS reading classes. While serving as Assistant Principal at Park Avenue School, she took great pride in organizing a “bear drive” so that every student “would have a stuffed bear as part of our Be Excited About Reading” unit. A strong believer in the home-school connection, Michelle has worked collaboratively with Parent Teacher Associations and with mental health teams to support positive behavior in students. As a Board member of NYSEC, she meets with NYSED to discuss English Language Arts goals and provide feedback from the field.

Michelle has a passion for learning and for sharing what she has learned. A member of NCTE, NYSEC, LILAC, and other vital educational organizations, she is always eager to attend conferences, listen to what others have to offer, and present her own workshops, sharing her wisdom with teachers and administrators. At NYSEC, she has served as President and as Conference Chair, and, maybe most significantly, has always been willing to mentor others who are learning their roles.

No quality better characterizes Michelle than her smile and her laugh, which can light up a room. Her smile is one of hope and promise and belief, and she shares that with all. We on the NYSEC Board thank Michelle for her service to the Board and to educators throughout the State.

2018 Award Winners

Educators of Excellence Winners


Katie Ralston
Cuba-Rushford Middle School

Gloria Dingwall
Dryden Street School

Joann Hili-Carbone
South Huntington UFSD


Joellen Maples
St. John Fisher College

Sandy Strock
Siena College


Tanya Cestaro
Sanford H. Calhoun High School

Jennifer De Lisi-Hall
Irvington High School

Heather Flood
Maple Hill High School

Lacey Gardner
Whitesville Central School

Diane Geurin
Guilderland High School

Jaclyn Lein
Island Trees High School

Ross Marvin
Schuylerville High School

Sarah Mattice
Schalmont High School

Alycia Spraker
Broadalbin-Perth High School

Christine Zandstra
Roy C. Ketcham High School


Ryan Kenny
Northport Middle School

Anne Klingle
New World Prep Charter School

Rebecca Levy
Grand Avenue Middle School

Brendan McGowan
Finley Middle School

Tina Varughese
Ballston Spa Middle School


Dr. Toni Ann Barone
Plaza Elementary School

Angela Berner
Huntington UFSD

Nancy Longenberger
James S. Evans Elementary School

Collaborators of Excellence

Kelly Baldwin & Debra Cavaliere
Northport High School

Todd Hyman & Tom Lee
Monroe-Woodbury High School

Theresa Lewis, John Balet & Matthew Golglowski
Clean Technologies Early College High School

Chris McNulty & Anthony Simiele
Ballston Spa Middle School

Kay O’Rourke-Kowalski & Carmela Gustafson
Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School

Early Career Scholarships

Matthew Hodges
Monroe-Woodbury High School

Yvanna Persaud
High School for Media and Communications

Programs of Excellence

Ethical Issues in Science (Bioethics)
Campbell-Savona Jr./Sr. High School
Campbell-Savona CSD

The Uncommon Community Reading Program (TUCCR)
Morris Central School
Morris CSD

Peer Responder Mentors Program
Manhasset Secondary School
Manhasset UFSD

Mini-Grant Winners

Sara Fleming
Westhill High School

Adam Kinory
The School of the Future

Terri Weiss
Hudson Valley Writing Project

English Record Article of the Year

“Using Critical Literacy to Frame Students’ Interactions with Complex Texts”
Dr. Salika Lawrence, Medgar Evers College & Tiffany Labissiere, Literacy Coach, NYC

2017 Award Winners

Educators of Excellence Winners

Darshna Katwala – Nassau Community College
Dr. Roberta Levitt – LIU Post

Maryann Stoorvogel – Pine Plains CSD

Elaine Monahan – Brookside Elementary School

Aidan Byrne – Baldwin Middle School
Michael Dlugozima – Merrick Avenue Middle School
Nancy Ebel –  Bulkeley Middle School
Joanna Gentile – Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School
Alan Schwartz – Great Neck South Middle School

Alyssa Dembek – New Rochelle High School
Julia Fernandez – Briarcliff High School
Dr. Shehnaz Khalfan-Washington – Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health & Science Charter School
Chris Mazura – Guilderland High School
Marilyn Norton –  Roy C. Ketcham High School
Elizabeth Sherwood – Northport High School
Pamela Uruburu – Northport High School
Erica Wagner-O’Rourke –  W.C. Mepham High School

25 Years of Service to NYSEC

Victor Jaccarino

Programs of Excellence Winners

Team ORCHID Newsroom – Plaza Elementary School, Baldwin UFSD
The Writer’s Block –  Ward Melville High School, Three Village CSD
Big Ideas for Little Kids – Oceanside HS & Oceanside ES, Oceanside CSD
Envisions – Critical Writing and Research, Westlake High School, Mt. Pleasant CSD
Berner One School, One Book Initiative – Berner Middle School, Massapequa CSD

Collaborators of Excellence Winners

Rob Irwin & Matt Holbrook – Monroe-Woodbury High School
Kimberly Ruppel & Colleen Ottalagano – Guilderland High School

Dr. Ruth E. Everett Award Winner

Frank Adamo – Iroquois Middle School, Niskayuna CSD

Mini-Grant Winners

Peter Khost – Stonybrook University
Christopher Mazura – Guilderland High School

Early Career Scholarship Winners

Kaitlin Blumberg – Monroe-Woodbury High School
Katelyn Maroney – Mineola High School
Krystal Haight – Westlake Middle School
Rina Hartigan – Plaza Elementary School

Article of the Year – English Record – Winner

“Teaching Writing Hope for a Just Writing Society”  –  Dr. Nicole Sieben, SUNY Old Westbury

2016 Award Winners

Educators of Excellence Winners

Valarie Karas – Ballston Spa School District
Steven Gilhuley – Malverne Union Free School District
Lucille Iconis – Massapequa Public Schools
Dr. Cynthia Seniuk – North Merrick School District
Beth Zirogiannis – Oceanside School District

Maryann Cockerill – Massapequa Public Schools
Kathleen Sokolowski – Farmingdale Public Schools
Kelly Mackay – Baldwin School District

Debra Villano – Island Trees School District
Kathryn Dodd – Amityville Union Free School District
Kathleen Fenn – Pine Plains Central School District
Kendra Fingerhut – Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School
Anna DeMartino – Sewanhaka Central High School District
Brett Schwartz – Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District
Tabatha Stillwell – Malone Central School District
Janine Katsigiorgis – Amityville Union Free School District

Jennifer Levin – Northport-East Northport Schools
Danielle Benner – Guilderland Central School District
Brooke Dickson – New Lebanon Central School District
Sarah Fleming – Westhill School District
Anastasia Caputo – Malverne Union Free School District
Cheryl Meany – Baldwinsville Central School District
Louis Ventura – Olean City School District
Andrew Maycock – Guilderland Central School District
Ricki Mazzella – Marlboro Central School District
Jolene Morielli-Russo – New Rochelle Public Schools
Lianne Bellinger – Sewanhaka Central High School District
Samantha Fishman – Briarcliff Manor School District
Laura Sheridan-Carbone – Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District
Rebecca Fiske – Malone Central School District
Susan Chappell – Monroe-Woodbury Central School District

Programs of Excellence Winners

The Canterbury Tale Parody – Skaneateles Central School District
Massapequa High School Media Studies Program – Massapequa Public Schools
Writing and Filmmaking – City School District of New Rochelle
Speak Truth to the Power Research Film Unit – Skaneateles Central School District

Collaborators of Excellence Winners

Jennifer Frasca and Laura Trongard – Oceanside School District
Kristin Petersen and Jennifer Rabie – Massapequa Public Schools
Amy Scognamillo and Amy Nardone – Bay Shore Schools
Tom Durkin and Michelle McNeight – Briarcliff Manor School District

Dr. Ruth E. Everett Award Winner

Beth Schneider – The City College Academy of the Arts

Mini-Grant Winners

Kjersti Vanslyke-Briggs & Marissa Orezzoli – Sydney Central School District
Ellen Brooks – Hunter College-CUNY
Reinaldo Latorre – Amityville Union Free School District
Stephen Sorensen – Olean City School District

Article of the Year – English Record – Winner

Michelle Bulla – Monroe-Woodbury Central School District

Fellow Award

Erik Sweet – New York State Education Department

2015 Award Winners

Educators of Excellence Winners

Dr. Wendy Galgan – St. Francis College
Dr. Jacqueline George – SUNY New Paltz

David Bernsley – Monroe-Woodbury High School
Melinda Murdock – Riverside Elementary School

Stephanie Brown – Silas Wood 6th Grade Center
Jillian Coster – Miller Avenue School
Suzanne Johnson – Riverside Elementary School
Debra Iannelli – Morris Central School
Glenna Raskin – Fairfield Elementary School
Lisa Levenson – Park Avenue School

Jamie De Leon – The Laboratory School for Finance and Technology
Kea Grabinski – Westbury Middle School
Grace Hazenbush – Linden Avenue Middle School
Meredith Levine – Grand Avenue Middle School
Amanda Steele – Island Trees Memorial Middle School
Kayla Witman – Waverly Middle School

Stephanie Buckhout – Putnam/ Northern Westchester BOCES
Linda Ciaffone – Floral Park Memorial High School
Rachel Cook – Norwood-Norfolk Central School
Christopher DiLeo – Marlboro Central High School
Kevin Dineen – Commack High School
Carol Durkin – Monroe-Woodbury High School
Maria Favre – Ward Melville High School
Corinna Heggen – Schenectady High School
Thomas Kenney – Briarcliff High School
Marissa Lattanzio – The Laboratory School for Finance and Technology
John Mitchell – Shoreham-Wading River High School
Alison Paley – Ballston Spa Central School District
Tracy Pontin – Schalmont High School
Claudia Rudnet – Mineola High School
Amy Salamone – Guilderland High School
Daniel Sheffield – John F. Kennedy High School
Sally Ventura – Olean High School
Marjorie Vigliotti – Oyster Bay High School

Programs of Excellence Winners

College Essay Workshop Night – Massapequa High School, Massapequa CSD
Senior Experience – Calhoun High School & Mepham High School, Bellmore-Merrick CSD

Collaborators of Excellence

Michael Laterza – Westlake High School
Vincent Iovane – Westlake High School
Patti Brown – Olean High School
Stephen Sorensen – Olean High School
Yornell Aguiar – Oceanside High School
Kathleen Holden – Oceanside High School
Jason Manning – Oceanside High School
Todd Nussen –  Oceanside High School

Dr. Ruth E. Everett Award Winner

Lori Lebel – Schenectady High School

Mini-Grant Winners

Dara Rhodes – Milford Central School
Julene Waffle – Morris Central School