ALBANY, N.Y. September 17, 2013 - New York State United Teachers today applauded the selection of Ashli Skura Dreher as the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year. NYSUT said the Lewiston-Porter High School special education teacher's commitment to her students and community - and her close collaboration with parents - make her an excellent choice to represent all of New York's caring and dedicated teachers.
New York's teachers are among the best and most professional in the nation. Still, Ashli manages to stand out," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "In her classroom, students with special needs receive a mix of research-based instruction and innovative lessons. Her focus on community and volunteerism, and her close collaboration with parents, make her a sterling example of what happens when great teachers and concerned parents work together on behalf of our children. I join every member of NYSUT in congratulating her."
Dreher, who began teaching in 1996, directs the life skills special education program at Lewiston-Porter High School. One mother called Dreher "the miracle worker" for unlocking her autistic son's mind and engaging him in learning. Among other activities, Dreher and her students host four dinners each year to recognize student achievement, involving parents and other family members in helping students develop important life skills. She also places her special needs students in internships with local businesses to better prepare them for the workplace.
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira noted that Dreher has earned national certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and, since 2004, has served as the Western New York coordinator for the union's Education & Learning Trust, which provides professional development courses to teachers across the state.
"Ashli's commitment to professional development and 'best practice' - and her dedication to sharing what she has learned with her colleagues across the state - are in the best tradition of teachers helping teachers grow as professionals," Neira said. "All of us applaud her accomplishment."
Dreher will succeed Webster High School history teacher Greg Ahlquist as New York's Teacher of the Year, and will visit the White House as the state's 2014 representative for national Teacher of the Year. NYSUT also congratulated the 2014 finalists:
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.
- Abbe Guillet, a French teacher at C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville;
- Emma Kress, an English teacher at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in Cicero; and
- Jeanine Nielsen, a chemistry teacher at Monticello High School in Monticello.