September 28, 2009

Orange County math teacher named NY State Teacher of the Year

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: New York Teacher

Debra Calvino, a 27-year math teacher at Valley Central High School in Orange County, has been named 2010 New York State Teacher of the Year.

"Mrs. Calvino is known for helping generations of students to love mathematics," Interim Education Commissioner Carole Huxley announced at the September meeting of the Board of Regents.

"She puts children center, mentors and trains colleagues and is a great union advocate," said Valley Central Teachers Association President Tim Brown. "She truly lives up to our slogan: There are no greater advocates for children and education than teachers and teacher unions."

Calvino, the 40th New York State Teacher of the Year, is now in the running for national Teacher of the Year.

"In a state known for the quality and professionalism of its teaching force, to be named Teacher of the Year is indeed a high honor," said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi. "We applaud Debra Calvino for her work with students, her colleagues and her community. She is a fitting choice to represent all the terrific teachers in our state."

NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said Calvino mentors other teachers and has inspired many to enter the field of teaching. "She is a wonderful ambassador for our profession," Neira said.

As a teacher leader, Calvino uses her math skills in a different way: She serves as a master trainer in data analysis, fostering district-wide support for and use of data-driven instruction to improve student achievement. She has also enhanced district resources through her extensive grant writing and advocacy efforts.

A ceremony honoring Calvino and four finalists will be held later this fall or early winter at the State Education Department.

The finalists are:

  • Rockette Brunetti, a high school English teacher at C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville;
  • Glen Cummings, a high school social studies teacher at Eastridge High School in Rochester; 
  • Ashli Dreher, a special education teacher of grades 9-12 at the Lewiston-Porter Central School District in Youngstown; and
  • Sandra Jabaut, a high school art teacher at Queensbury High School in Queensbury, Warren County.

The Teacher of the Year award is co-sponsored by numerous education groups, including NYSUT. Applications are available in the fall. Call State Ed at 518-486-6042 or go to

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