October 07, 2010

NYC science teacher wins $25,000 award

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT Communications
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Nieve gets the news. Photo by MMF.org.

A National Board Certified teacher, Natasha Cooke Nieves provides professional development and leadership for educators and administrators at 25 schools in New York City. Now, she has provided them with a reason to celebrate: She was chosen as the recipient of a $25,000 educator award from the Milken Family Foundation, the first winner from New York City.

Cooke Nieves was surprised at a school assembly yesterday co-hosted by Lowell Milken and state Education Commissioner David Steiner. Even the reason for the assembly was a secret; teachers did not know one of their own would be honored. Her mouth dropped open as her name was called.

All four chosen from New York state, announced this week, are members of NYSUT, which is continually working to promote innovations in teaching.

She is part of Children First Network, a city public school initiative set up to provide instructional support, professional development and leadership for school networks. She is a member of the United Federation of Teachers, NYSUT's affiliate in New York City schools. She assists teachers with innovative curriculum and pedagogical techniques. As a Brooklyn science teacher for 10 years, Cooke Nieves brings experience to her work. She uses hands-on, inquiry-based investigation of scientific concepts.

As an adjunct at Brooklyn College, where she is a member of the Professional Staff Congress, she teaches elementary science education, biology and chemistry to pre-service and in-service teachers.

In pursuit of her doctorate in science education,this energetic educator reports she may use the unexpected award to help her pay for her degree. The unrestricted funds come from the Milken Family Foundation, which has been awarding exemplary teachers for 24 years. Each educator chosen receives $25,000 and will be attending a spring trip to California to take part in an educator forum to address innovative strategies for advancing teaching effectiveness.