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Massachusetts teachers honored at State House ceremony

Several MTA members along with three Boston teachers were honored at this year’s State House ceremony celebrating some of the state’s many exceptional teachers.

The ceremony on June 16 recognized teachers honored through various state and national programs, including the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year program, which the MTA helps to fund.

“We are proud of all the honorees and proud to be part of a program to celebrate teachers who are smart, compassionate, hard-working, innovative and effective at their jobs,” said MTA President Paul Toner.

Boston’s Monument High School Mathematics Teacher Adam Gray was named the 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. He succeeds Amherst teacher Floris Wilma Ortiz-Marrero, who received the award last year.

Jessica Kodys, a history teacher at Stacy Middle School in Milford, was named the state's 2011 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year.

Kodys, a resident of Mendon, creates authentic experiences for her fifth grade history students to foster curiosity and generate excitement in learning, according to a release issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which oversees the TOY program. “She challenges her students to read, decipher and apply information gathered from primary documents, music and art. In class discussions students are asked to listen to their classmates and model how to respectfully disagree or challenge ideas or perceptions of the people or events being studied,” the statement says.

 “Miss Kodys' expectation for success and her ability to empower her students allows her to educate the whole child, as well as challenge all learners through the use of differentiated instruction," wrote Stacy Middle School Principal Nancy Angelini in her letter of recommendation.

The 2012 Teacher of the Year finalists were: Ryan J. King, a Biology teacher at Masconomet Regional Middle School in Topsfield; William Madden-Fuoco, an AP English and Humanities teacher at Urban Science Academy in Boston; and Sarah Roberts, a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at South Shore Charter Public School in Norwell.

The Teacher of the Year semifinalists were: Heather A. Batchelor, a History teacher at Turners Falls High School in Montague; Kathleen D. Malone, a 1st grade teacher at Lynch Elementary School in Winchester; Karen Elizabeth McDavitt, a 2nd grade teacher at Joseph Osgood School in Cohasset; and Danielle M. Winn, a 4th grade special education teacher at Arnone Elementary School in Brockton.

Also recognized were 2010 Milken Family Foundation Award winner Roni Gold, a 5th grade teacher at Rebecca Johnson Elementary School in Springfield; and the recipients of the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Michael Flynn, a 2nd grade teacher at William Norris Elementary School in Southampton, and Wai Chin Ng, a 5th grade teacher at Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Boston.

Known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken awards were established to provide public recognition and individual rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary teachers, principals, and specialists who are furthering excellence in education.

The Presidential Award program was enacted by Congress in 1983. Recipients receive a trip to Washington, D.C. and a $10,000 award.