Anna Annina, a chemistry and physics teacher at Williamsburg Preparatory HS in Brooklyn, said her “happiest” moment in teaching was opening the mind of one of her students, an aspiring dancer, to develop an interest in science. That student is now pursuing a nursing career.
“My passion is to get kids to stay in science,” Annina said, “because our country needs students to study science” and pursue careers in areas such as nursing, engineering and pharmacology.
Annina was among nine public school teachers honored at the annual Blackboard Awards ceremony on June 10 at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan. For more than 15 years, the awards have recognized outstanding teachers chosen from nominations submitted by colleagues, parents and students. They are sponsored by Manhattan Media, the publisher of New York Family magazine. The UFT was an event co-sponsor.
Chante Orane, a science teacher at West Preparatory Academy in Manhattan, was surprised to find she was nominated by two students. She said it meant a lot “for students to take the time to show appreciation for your hard work.”
Orane says it can be a big jump from a 7th-grade science class covering general topics to her higher-level 8th-grade living environment class. “I make sure students who need additional support are getting it,” Orane said, from helping them after school to giving students and their parents online study resources.
“I’m confident when students leave my class, they will feel comfortable and ready to succeed in high school,” she said.
Laura Wollos of PS 267 on the Upper East Side says being a special education teacher is her “true calling.”
“There are a lot of hard days, but I know when I’ll look back at my teaching career, it will be the most rewarding part of my life,” Wollos says. “I love when the students have that ‘aha’ moment and the confidence that follows it. I’m proud to be the facilitator that allows this to happen on a daily basis.”
The other public school educators honored were: Amy Bernard of IS 239 in Coney Island; Janelle Fisk of PS 198 on the Upper East Side; Tara Hines of Battery Park City School in Manhattan; Kim Nunes of Brighter Choice Community School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; Amanda Ramos of River East Elementary School in East Harlem; and Lindsey Sequeira, a school counselor at the Queens School of Inquiry in Flushing.