William “Billy Green, a master chemistry teacher at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in New York City, is the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year. Green, a member of the United Federation of Teachers, was recognized by the State Education Department for his work putting student success at the core of everything he does — from his thoughtful and engaging lessons to helping meet the diverse needs of students and families beyond the classroom.
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.”
He 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.”
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.
Beyond his classroom, Green, a proud Harlemite, leaves an indelible mark. He is co-facilitator of his school’s LGBTQ affinity group and established an LGBTQ youth support center in East Harlem and works with the nonprofit
Opus Dance Theatre, Inc. both in New York City and abroad, establishing six-week arts intensive summer camps for children in Ghana and South Africa.
“This award is for my community,” Green said. “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.”