Gregory Ahlquist, a Webster high school history teacher and member of the Webster Teachers Association, now ranks among the very best in the teaching profession.
Ahlquist — the 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year — stands out for his passion for teaching, his leadership in the community and his commitment to social justice, said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi.
"He is an inspiration to everyone in his school district, especially his students," Iannuzzi said.
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira praised Ahlquist's dedication and enthusiasm for teaching, crediting him with motivating his students and helping them to succeed.
Ahlquist developed the Advanced Placement History program at Webster Thomas High School 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," Neira said.
Ahlquist is equally dedicated to his community, organizing charity basketball games and collecting items for the local food bank during the holidays.
NYSUT also praised 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 — for exemplifying excellence in teaching.
"New York's classrooms are filled with caring, dedicated teachers," Iannuzzi said.
Ahlquist succeeds 2012 Teacher of the Year Katie Ferguson, an elementary school teacher in the Schenectady City School District.