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For Immediate Release September 13, 2011

For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201



The Board of Regents announced today that Kathleen Ferguson, a second grade teacher at Jessie T. Zoller Elementary School in Schenectady, has been named the 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Ferguson was presented with a certificate of recognition by Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr.  Mrs. Ferguson was also presented with the Thomas Sobol Award and the David Johnson Award, both created as annual gifts for recipients of the Teacher of the Year award.

Mrs. Ferguson, the 42nd New York State Teacher of the Year, began her career in 1998 in the Schenectady City School District where she has been teaching for 13 years.  Mrs. Ferguson is a master teacher who is well known for pedagogical skills, collegiality, professionalism and an empathetic nature towards students with special needs.

Commissioner King said, "Last week, I met with all of Schenectady's teachers.  I was struck by the dedication, passion and enthusiasm for teaching from everyone in the room. Kathleen Ferguson embodies all those qualities as the New York State Teacher of the Year.   Kathleen believes in what she does and she embraces the vital role teachers have in preparing students to be successful in an ever changing world."

"In a state where teaching excellence is commonplace, Kathleen Ferguson stands out," said New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Her caring and dedication; commitment to improving literacy among her students; and the enthusiasm with which she mentors student-teachers and beginning teachers make her a very worthy recipient to represent all teachers as the next New York State Teacher of the Year.  Her union stands proudly with her, and congratulates her."

Well known for her expertise in literacy and best instructional practices, Kathleen has initiated several literacy efforts within her district and has led professional development for others.  She welcomes fellow teachers and parents into her classroom and models innovative instruction.  She serves as a peer leader as well as a mentor for new teachers. She has enhanced the resources of her school and district through successful grant writing and turnkey training.

Mrs. Ferguson is well regarded by all members of the extended school community.  She has been recognized locally as Schenectady's Teacher of the Year and credits the example of her colleagues as her motivation to excel.  She is a true ambassador for teaching who consistently shares her passion for education as well as her exemplary skills.  She views the opportunity to serve as the 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year as a chance to enhance the image of outstanding teachers in New York State.

Finalists for 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year were: Ms. Danielle Commander, a Special Education teacher of grades K through two at Countrywood Primary School in Huntington Station; Ms. Patricia Manchisi, a high school Spanish teacher at Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff; Ms. Suzanne Neske, a English teacher of grades 10 through 12 at Connetquot High School in Bohemia; and Ms. Therese O’Loughlin, a grades one through eight teacher at Michael F. Stokes Elementary School in Levittown.

The State Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT); the United Federation of Teachers (UFT); the New York State Parents and Teachers Association (NYSPTA); the New York State Association for School Curriculum Development (NYSASCD); the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA); the School Administrators Association of NYS (SAANYS); the New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE); the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NYACATE); ING Financial Services, Inc.; International Business Machines (IBM); the Smarter Kids Foundation; SMART Technologies; and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The program is run in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by CCSSO.

Applications for the Teacher of the Year program are available in the fall of each year from the Teacher Development Programs Unit of the New York State Education Department at (518) 486-6042 or online at:  Individuals identified to the Education Department as outstanding teachers are also mailed applications.


New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: September 13, 2011