NEW YORK , April 11, 2008 — New York State United Teachers today saluted Fairport High School's Richard Ognibene Jr., praising the state 2008 Teacher of the Year as "a shining example of the excellence that embodies our state's public schools, making them among the nation's best."
A chemistry and physics teacher, Ognibene was selected for the honor last fall by the state Education Department.
"Richard Ognibene's passion, dedication and commitment to his students and his profession are the hallmarks of a great teacher," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "He personifies the high-quality professionalism exhibited by our members in classrooms across the state."
Ognibene is a member of the Fairport Educators Association and is a former vice president and building representative. "As professionals, we all do better when we all chip in, stand together and work to advance as a group," Ognibene said. "NYSUT," he added, "has brought dignity" to the teaching profession.
Besides his classroom duties, Ognibene is an adviser to the district's Gay Straight Alliance and is a leader in Fairport's Brotherhood-Sisterhood Week, which focuses on the concepts of civility and respect for all people. He also has served as a mentor for new science teachers.
"When a former student beams with happiness at memories from our class, I know that, in the mosaic of that person's life, a few of the brightest tiles belong to me," Ognibene said. "What other profession can compete with that?"
"Richard Ognibene is an exemplary teacher who has made a positive impact on both his students and his profession," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "We are very proud of his accomplishments and the way in which he represents our members."
NYSUT represents more than 585,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.