ALBANY, N.Y. Sept. 13, 2022 — New York State United Teachers today congratulated United Federation of Teachers member William “Billy” Green, a master chemistry teacher in New York City, on being named the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year by the state Board of Regents.
A veteran of multiple city schools, current teacher at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Manhattan and dedicated community servant both in his native Harlem and in Africa, Green was celebrated by the Board of Regents and NYSUT during the Regents’ meeting in Albany Tuesday.
In his work with students in Manhattan, the Bronx and on Rikers Island during his career, Green approaches teaching with what peers, administrators and mentors have described as an “intensely passionate” love for education, a “desire to empower a community” and a “belief that all students can succeed.” Green sums up his philosophy on education as “the opportunities I can create through great teaching and learning experiences I understand personally have the power to change individuals, families and communities.”
“Above all, Billy’s tenacity for connecting with his students and doing everything in his power to set them up for success is what inspires me most about his work,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “It’s the same tenacity and commitment to students I see every day from NYSUT members across the state. We’re incredibly proud of the mark Billy is leaving on his community and congratulate him on all of his success.”
In the classroom, Green brings an imaginative approach to teaching chemistry to connect with students, intertwining the arts with science and mathematics. In addition to core STEM courses, he has created elective courses like Hip Hop and Science Education and Sociocultural Perspectives of Science Education through Arts Practices. What’s more, Green is committed to giving students a voice in the way they learn, empowering them as collaborators and co-teachers, rather than allowing the dense academic vocabulary, mathematics and content of some lessons to create an environment in which some students can feel excluded.
“Billy’s dedication to connecting with his students and community through culturally responsive teaching and project-based learning exemplifies how 21st century teachers have honed their craft to meet the needs of diverse students in a changing world,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said. “His commitment to learning from his students and creating a collaborative environment in which he doesn’t just teach, but guides them in their own learning, is inspiring to see.”
Beyond his classroom, Green, a proud Harlemite, leaves an indelible mark. He is co-facilitator of A. Philip Randolph Campus High School’s LGBTQ affinity group and established an LGBTQ youth support center in East Harlem and works with the non-profit Opus Dance Theatre, Inc. both in New York City and abroad, establishing six-week summer arts intensive summer camps for children in Ghana and South Africa.
“Teacher of the Year Billy Green makes a difference in his students’ lives,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said. “Once children are in his class, they are in his class for life. He will be a powerful voice for our students, our profession and our public schools. Thank you, Billy, for putting the spotlight where it belongs — on the magic that takes place in our classrooms.”
“I’m proud of the Harlem community where I come from, and I work hard to give back by uplifting my students through their education and giving them a voice in their learning,” Green said. “This award is for my community. I want to be an example of how when you work hard and give back to your community, the acolytes and empowerment that goes with that come back to your community.”
NYSUT today also congratulated the four Teacher of the Year finalists: Lori Atkinson, Copenhagen Teachers Association; Andi Cammer, Jefferson Teachers’ Association; Vanessa Jackson, Plainview-Old Bethpage Congress of Teachers; and Zachary Arenz, Rochester Teachers Association.
Left to right: Chancellor Lester Young; Andi Cammer, Jefferson Teachers’ Association; William “Billy” Green, United Federation of Teachers; Commissioner Betty Rosa; Vanessa Jackson, Plainview-Old Bethpage Congress of Teachers; Lori Atkinson, Copenhagen Teachers Association; Zachary Arenz, Rochester Teachers Association; and NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.