3 named Master Teachers


By Jim Poole

Three Schoharie County teachers have been named Master Teachers by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Theresa Billington and Tracy Smith of Cobleskill-Richmondville and Erika Robert of Schoharie earned the designation last week.
Described as high performers in their field, the three were among the 215 named by the Governor in the New York State Master Teacher program.
Master Teachers receive $15,000 annually for four years. Their chief responsibility is to share their expertise with and help train fellow teachers.
Ms. Smith and Ms. Robert are high school math teachers; Ms. Billington teachers middle school science. All three participated in the Master Teacher program at SUNY Oneonta.
Ms. Smith described the application process as rigorous but said she was anticipating the challenges ahead.
"It's pretty exciting," Ms. Smith said. "I'm looking forward to the professional development."
"It's pretty cool," Ms. Billington added. "We're trailblazers in a new program. "We'll be mentoring and demonstrating different ways of teaching."
Ms. Smith expects to be working with students planning to become teachers, newer teachers "and with the professional community."
The program hasn't been completely rolled out yet, Ms. Billington said. She hopes to be spending some time with C-R teachers, though she expects to learn more at a late May meeting in SUNY Oneonta.
Like the others, Ms. Robert is excited, too. Noting the duties aren't really clear yet, she said she spoke to a professor in Buffalo, where the Master Teacher program is already in place.
"They get together with other teachers and share ideas and concepts and identify things they want to work on," Ms. Robert said.
Professional development is an essential part, she added.
"I'm excited about the professional development for us and the opportunity to share what we learn with teachers in our school and other schools," Ms. Robert said.
Administrators at C-R and Schoharie were proud of their newly-named Master Teachers.
"Theresa and Tracy will be fantastic at sharing their craft and knowledge within our district and region, mentoring new teachers and contributing to the learning community," C-R Superintendent Lynn Macan said.
Schoharie Superintendent Brian Sherman described Ms. Robert as "the perfect selection."
Ms. Robert spent a week as a guest of the Tennessee Valley Authority learning to develop integrated mathematics and engineering lessons for high school and also participated in a second Schoharie delegation's trip to China.
"Erika is exceptionally dedicated and makes mathematics 'real' for her students," Mr. Sherman said. "She was also the first in the school to use a SmartBoard with her lessons."