With the school year winding down, Schools Chancellor David C. Banks announced the winners of the tenth annual Big Apple award, which honored 20 outstanding educators for their leadership, dedication to their students and overall contributions to their schools.
The Big Apple award is a citywide recognition award program which celebrates New York City public school teachers for their service to their schools and to education as a whole.
This year’s 20 recipients were all surprised by Chancellor Banks or another DOE leader June 23 to honor their work. This year’s recipients include 13 classroom teachers, 4 arts teachers, a pre-K teacher, a physical education teacher, and a charter school recipient.
“The educators being honored as this year’s Big Apple Award recipients are stellar role models for their profession and examples of the type of caring, compassionate staff members we want every student to have,” said Chancellor Banks. “On behalf of our students, families, and communities, thank you for everything you do for our youngest New Yorkers – we are forever grateful.”
Next school year, the 20 Big Apple recipients will serve as Big Apple Fellows, and will have the opportunity to collaborate with each other and become leaders in the education field. Winners also get to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Council.
“The Big Apple Awards recognizes the incredible hard work and dedication of New York City’s public school educators,”said Julie L. Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools. “With the generous support of our private donors, The Fund for Public Schools is excited to continue to sponsor the awards which will provide a classroom grant to enable award recipients to continue to deepen their impact in the classroom and beyond.”
The Big Apple Award also shines a light on school programs like music and the arts, showing how important art education is for developing minds and students.
“Arts education is essential for every child PreK-12 in NYC public schools,” said Jody Arnold, Dance Educator and Advocate of Big Apple winner, Erika Bance. “Dance education is a critical component of a quality, engaging arts education. The Arnhold Foundation is proud to support the Big Apple Teacher Excellence in Dance Award and to recognize and celebrate Erika Bance. Erika engages students to see themselves in their teachers, in choreographers studied, and in stories told. As a result, her students see themselves as artists. We salute Erika as a representative of the hundreds of dedicated dance educators working in NYC’s public schools Prek-12. She is a hero.”
This year’s Big Apple Award recipients come from all five of New York City’s boroughs and represent a range of educators teaching a vast variety of subjects and grade levels. The Big Apple Awards are made possible in part by private support through the Fund for Public Schools – the DOE’s non-profit fundraising partner – responsible for facilitating sponsored awards and ensuring that all recipients receive a classroom grant.
A full list of recipient bios can be found here.