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Career and Technical Education Awards recognition ceremony

Honoring those who make program thrive

Jonathan Fickies
Sandra Rossi (left) of Bayside HS in Queens and Luna Ramirez of Information Tech Jonathan Fickies

Sandra Rossi (left) of Bayside HS in Queens and Luna Ramirez of Information Technology HS in Long Island City, Queens, flank presenter Angel Pineiro, the chairman of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council. The women were co-recipients of both the Municipal Credit Union Teacher of the Year Award and the Stanley Schair CTE Teacher for Excellence and Innovation Award.

Lenny Speregen introduced students to a professional diving program at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island — the only program of its kind in the nation. Arlyn Kelly pioneered the nursing program at William E. Grady Career and Technical HS in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Grace Giardina instituted digital single-lens reflex photography at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film in Long Island City, Queens.

These were just a few of the dozens of honorees at the 2017 Career and Technical Education Awards Recognition Ceremony on March 13 at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, where nearly 350 educators, students, UFT and city Department of Education representatives, and industry partners celebrated the program that teaches 21st-century skills and prepares students for successful careers.

Damiano Mastrandrea (left), the 2016 Outstanding SVA Program Graduate, receives Jonathan FickiesDamiano Mastrandrea (left), the 2016 Outstanding SVA Program Graduate, receives the Edwin Espalliat Award from Dwight Threepersons, who helped the award’s namesake found the SVA program.

In welcoming remarks, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said CTE, which already has more than 63,000 full-time students in 276 programs in 120 schools, is “about to expand in a way we have always hoped for.” He thanked those in Shanker Hall for “making sure New York City has always had a vibrant CTE program in every borough.”

Janella Hinds, the UFT vice president for academic high schools, served as master of ceremonies, filling in for Sterling Roberson, the vice president for career and technical education, who could not attend due to a death in his family. “We work very closely together because we know how important it is to integrate the academic side and the CTE side,” Hinds said.

The Success Via Apprenticeship program — a rigorous teacher-training program in which a small group of CTE graduates attend college classes while simultaneously apprenticing in classrooms and industry — contributed to the success of several of the evening’s honorees.

Three-year-old Mariah McIntosh is thrilled she’s not the only one who thinks herJonathan FickiesThree-year-old Mariah McIntosh is thrilled she’s not the only one who thinks her daddy — Outstanding Educator honoree Marlon McIntosh of the Academy for Health Careers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn — is special.

Damiano Mastrandrea, the 2016 Outstanding SVA Program Graduate who now teaches at Chelsea CTE HS in Manhattan, received the Edwin Espalliat Award, named for an SVA founder. “The SVA program is the most comprehensive and effective teacher preparation program for CTE teachers in the country,” Mastrandrea said, adding that his industry experiences, including work at the Smithsonian Institute, validated his training and knowledge. Mastrandrea says he doesn’t have “a single regret.”

Two of the evening’s Outstanding Educator honorees now teach at their alma maters thanks to the SVA program.

Rosa Chavez, who teaches at Manhattan’s HS of Fashion Industries, created a study abroad program in Italy that allows participants to earn college credit. She reminds students, “I walked the same halls, I sat in the same chairs, I had the same troubles. If I could do the things I’ve done, then you can do even more.”

Now-retired teacher Sandra Manning, who attended the ceremony, said she encouraged Chavez as a student to apply for SVA. “Rosa had a burning love for fashion,” Manning recalled. “If other students couldn’t understand what I was teaching, she knew how to translate the craft and break it down for them.”

The two women went on to become colleagues when Chavez returned to the HS of Fashion Industries as a teacher.

Miguel Sierra, the other Outstanding Educator honoree, teaches auto mechanics at Thomas Edison CTE HS in Jamaica, Queens, which provided the ceremony’s student hosts.

A trained technician before entering SVA, Sierra said the program enabled him to be “confident not just about the automobile but about how to get information to students.”

Some of Sierra’s former teachers are now colleagues, including one who nominated Sierra for his award and “is still teaching me,” he said.

Sierra encourages his students to apply for SVA like he did and become a teacher.

“It’s not just automotive you’re teaching,” he says. “It’s life skills, and hopefully you’re having a little bit of impact on society.”

See more photos in the gallery »

Outstanding teacher award recipients

  • Brian Lewis, Pathways in Technology Early College HS
  • Alan Richter, School for Tourism and Hospitality
  • William Tsang, In-Tech Academy
  • Anna Potter, The Urban Assembly School for Collaborative Healthcare
  • Nicole Stevens-Santiago, Pathways to Graduation
  • Tanola Dunkley, Union Square Academy for Health Sciences
  • Joyce Saintelot, HS of Computers and Technology
  • Yolonda Pough, Academy of Finance and Enterprise
  • Robert Cintron, Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical HS
  • Josue Rivera, Queens Vocational and Technical HS
  • Liza Bishop-Ifill, Clara Barton HS
  • Khayri Alphonse, Academy of Innovative Technology
  • Grace Giardina, Academy for Careers in Technology and Film
  • Frederick Fernandez, School of Cooperative Technical Education
  • Patricia Mack, Chelsea Career and Technical Education HS
  • Jessica Prohias Gardiner, Business of Sports School
  • Janis Graham, HS for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture
  • Lenny Speregen, Urban Assembly New York Harbor School
  • Jaime Martinez, Transit Tech Career and Technical Education HS
  • Jason Bissonnette, Eagle Academy for Young Men
  • Miguel Sierra, Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education HS
  • Ronela Austin, William H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education HS
  • Arlyn Kelly, William E. Grady Career and Technical HS
  • Michele Williams, George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education HS
  • Carol Sun, Manhattan Early College School for Advertising
  • Lisa Costantino, Edward R. Murrow HS
  • David Messina, Aviation Career and Technical Education HS
  • Evelyn Rivera, Williamsburg HS for Architecture and Design
  • Andrew Jacklin, Benjamin Franklin HS for Finance Information Technology
  • Anthony Johnson, Bronx Design and Construction Academy
  • Joseph Buro, Staten Island Technical HS
  • Sophia Christian-Holliday, Food and Finance HS
  • Marlon McIntosh, Academy for Health Careers
  • Peter LaFranca, Alfred E.Smith Career and Technical Education HS
  • Jacqueline Ince, The HS of Fashion Industries
  • Rosa Chavez, The HS of Fashion Industries
  • Gerry Irizarry, Urban Assembly Maker Academy
  • Fred Raphael, Boerum Hill School for International Studies
  • Jacqueline Andrawis, Tottenville HS
  • Robert Rothenberg, Automotive HS
  • Dolores Winfield, Art and Design HS
  • Lauren Stewart, HS for Energy and Technology

Special presentations

  • MCU Teacher of the Year Award:
  • Luna Ramirez, Information Technology HS
  • Sandra Rossi, Bayside HS
  • Stanley Schair CTE Teacher for Excellence & Innovation Award
  • Luna Ramirez, Information Technology HS
  • Sandra Rossi, Bayside HS
  • Edwin Espalliat Award:
  • Damiano Mastrandrea, 2016 Outstanding Success via Apprenticeship Program graduate

Special Recognition Awards:

  • Harini Venkatesh, senior director of industry engagement and strategic partnerships for CTE, New York City Department of Education
  • Dr. Godfrey Nwoke, professor, New York City College of Technology
  • C-Tech Business and Education Partnership Awards
  • Anthony Competiello, William E. Grady Career and Technical Education HS
  • Jaime Martinez, Transit Tech Career and Technical Education HS
  • Nicole Zagada, Queens Vocational and Technical HS

The National Academy Foundation Awards

  • Robert Almonte, Manhattan Bridges HS
  • Andrew Jacklin, Benjamin Franklin HS for Finance and Information
  • Robin Gibson-Simms, Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights
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