April 04, 2011

Jeff Peneston: New York State Teacher of the Year

Source: RA 2011

Jeff Peneston
United Liverpool Faculty Association

Peneston was honored during Friday's session of NYSUT's annual convention, the Representative Assembly.

Jeff Peneston, the 41st New York State Teacher of the Year, is a high school earth science teacher at Liverpool High School in Liverpool, near Syracuse. He is a member of the United Liverpool Faculty Association, led by President Pattie Miller.

Peneston has taught both academic and honors classes and has collaborated on the Earth Science Symposium, an honors requirement. Known for facilitating student success, he has developed a variety of field experiences designed to enhance student learning via hands-on science exploration.

Jeff has motivated students to take part in science research and competitions and several of his pupils have won significant awards.

He is a lifelong learner who takes part in extensive professional development, including his participation in the 2008 PolarTREC Program, a seven-week National Science Foundation program, administered by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., which allows teachers to take part in an international voyage to one of the earth's poles for hands-on research.

Jeff shared benefits of this experience via a series of webcasts and lessons that enabled his students to follow his activities and learn through this unique opportunity. He is viewed as a collaborative teacher who has generously shared his expertise with colleagues. He has mentored many student teachers and models innovative instructional approaches throughout his school community.

Mr. Peneston's honors and awards include the District Teacher of the Year Award for the Liverpool Central School District (2009-2010), the 2010 Technology Alliance of Central New York Outstanding Teacher Award and the PolarTREC Teacher Award in 2008. He has won several significant grants through his exemplary work with science students and fellow educators.

Mr. Peneston's community involvement and activities are extensive. He has served as summer program director and natural history educator director for Camp Talooli in Pennellville for more than 25 years. He has involved his community via leadership roles for the American Camp Association, Chorus and Drama Organization, Marching Band and Color Guard booster groups and science fairs.

Finalists for the 2011 New York State Teacher of the Year were: Mr. Michael Elliot, a social studies teacher of grades 7 and 8 at North Albany Academy in Albany; Mr. Michael A. Jeziorski, a high school social studies teacher at Commack High School in Commack; Ms. Jodi Sobczak, a first-grade teacher at Brocton Elementary School in Brocton; and Mrs. Martha Strever, an eighth-grade mathematics and computer science teacher at Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook.

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