“I love math and I love working with kids”. That is the mantra of Shaker High School Math teacher, Mark Kaercher, who has been selected as a New York State Master Teacher. He now joins a cohort of a content-rich professional development program which has been in effect since the fall of 2013. Several other North Colonie teachers have earned this award, bringing the district’s total number to seven.
Kelly Ryan, Biology
Elizabeth Carroll, 8th grade Math
Jessica Vaccaro-Piper, Biology
Jodie Kimbrough, Chemistry
Sarah Kowalski, Earth Science
Pam Rosi, Physics
“These awards are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our teaching staff,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “We are fortunate to have an outstanding group of teachers in North Colonie who consistently focus on meeting the needs of students and improving and growing professionally throughout their careers. Mark Kaercher is a dedicated professional who is always seeking to improve his craft. He is creative, reflective and innovative, and represents the essence of excellent teaching.”
Kaercher is in his 13th year of teaching at Shaker, and his 22nd year overall. He says his passion for teaching and his subject material continues to grow.
“I always push myself to be better for my students and my colleagues. I never wanted to be this guy who just did the same thing every year and every day.”
Kaercher says he always tries to teach students how math can be used in everyday life. He is a Technology Resource Teacher and sits on the Shaker High School Innovation Team.
“Even though I’m an old dog, I like to learn new tricks. I feel like if I’m always learning, maybe that will inspire my students to always want to learn.”
“Mr. Kaercher is a teacher who constantly uses innovation and real life examples in his math instruction,” said Shaker High School Principal Richard Murphy. “Long before common core, he was teaching his students the relevancy of mathematics in their lives and future careers.”
“Mr. Kaercher is tireless in his commitment to improving the mathematical experiences of his students,” added Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Kathleen Skeals. “Creative and innovative, he is an exemplary 21st century educator who is deeply deserving of this recognition.”
The total number of Master Teachers in New York is 625, representative of every region in the state. Teachers go through an extensive application and interview process, take a content area test, submit written essays, and give presentations.
According to Governor Cuomo’s office, Master Teachers receive a $15,000 stipend per year over four years for participation in the program; engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities throughout the academic year; work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers, attend required regular cohort meetings, and participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year. The goal is to foster continued growth in STEM education.
Kaercher is also a 2001 recipient of a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.