For 20 years Sarah Strouse has taught seventh grade science at the junior high, and during those two decades, the focus on STEM in schools (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has increased tremendously. In 2013, Governor Cuomo created the NYS Master Teacher program, which through a rigorous application and selection process, highlights teachers across the state who are focused on fostering continued growth in STEM education.
This year, 214 more teachers were named, including Strouse. She joins ten other North Colonie teachers who earned this award previously, bringing the district’s total number to 11.
Jennifer Phillips, Science
Karen Wells, Math
Laura Grooten, Science
Mark Kaercher, Math
Jessica Vaccaro-Piper, Biology
Jodie Kimbrough, Chemistry
Sarah Kowalski, Earth Science
Pam Rosi, Physics
Kelly Ryan, Biology
Elizabeth Carroll, 8th grade Math
“I think it’s exciting to have the opportunities of professional development available to me and to have this network of teachers within our own district that can help each other and help us all grow and develop,” said Strouse.
Strouse says one of the most recent and biggest changes she’s experienced in her role as a teacher, is the amount of English as a New Language (ENL) learners in her classrooms. Strouse says the increase has made her really evaluate how she’s teaching, because it’s not just about content, but the ability to understand language. She says she looks forward to the Master Teacher program helping her grow in this regard.
“If you’re stagnant, you’re not doing the best you can for yourself or your kids,” said Strouse. “Having different resources available and to be able to expand and grow is priceless.”
Master Teachers go through an extensive application and interview process, take a content area test, submit written essays, and give presentations. The selected teachers are representative of every region in the state.
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, and attend required regular cohort meetings and participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year.
“Sarah Strouse is an extraordinary educator,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “She makes the effort to be the best she can each and everyday, and constantly looks toward exploring ways to meet the needs of each and every student in her classroom. It’s an honor for the district to have her recognized for what we have known since she started her career in North Colonie.”