ALBANY, N.Y. October 10, 2012 - New York State United Teachers today celebrated the selection of Webster high school history teacher Gregory Ahlquist as the 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year, applauding his dedication to students and leadership in the community, and noting he represents the very best of what the teaching profession has to offer.
"New York's classrooms are filled with caring, dedicated teachers. Greg stands out for his passion for teaching, his leadership in the community and his commitment to social justice," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "He is an inspiration to everyone in his school district, especially his students, and is an example for all of us to follow."
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira praised Ahlquist's dedication and enthusiasm for teaching, crediting him with motivating his students and helping them succeed. She noted that Ahlquist developed the Advanced Placement History program at Webster Thomas High School in Webster, and grew it to ever-higher levels of participation. "It is an outgrowth of his belief that every student should be challenged to achieve at the highest-possible level," she said.
"The same passion, enthusiasm and leadership Greg brings to teaching, he brings to community involvement and social justice," Neira added. "He organizes charity basketball games and collections for the local food bank during the holidays. Greg's commitment to students and his community are exemplary and make him an outstanding choice to represent New York as its 43rd Teacher of the Year."
NYSUT also congratulated the runner-up, Neil J. Lange from Bennett High School in Buffalo, and three finalists -- Stephanie Muson, of Briarcliff Middle School; Grace Barrett of Commack Middle School; and Julene J. Waffle of Morris Central School – saying they exemplify excellence in teaching.
Ahlquist, a member of the Webster Teachers Association, succeeds 2012 Teacher of the Year Kathleen Ferguson, an elementary school teacher in the Schenectady City School District.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 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.