On Dec. 4, the Fund for the City of New York awarded Erica Guzmán of Corona’s Civic Leadership Academy and Krishna Mahabir of Ridgewood’s Grover Cleveland High School the Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics.
The award recognizes New York City educators who exceed expectations, advance student success and achieve superb academic results. A total of seven public high school teachers were chosen to receive the award this year after an extensive application and interview process.
Guzmán, a Queens resident and teacher of 13 years, said she always tries to keep her students on her toes.
“I always try to plan activities where the kids feel like they’re having fun,” Guzmán said. “I also like to give them options in their learning. And, when applicable, I try to bring in some real-world applications.”
The AP calculus AB, algebra 2 and pre-calculus teacher — who is also a Math for America Master Teacher — said the school’s diversity and individualized approach make it an outstanding place for a student to grow.
“Students get a very personalized experience,” she said. “Every student is treated as an individual and offered so many options.”
Originally from Guyana, Mahabir has taught at Grover Cleveland HS for 18 years. His mission has been to foster an interest in science studies in the school’s large population of newly arrived immigrants.
With Mahabir at the helm, students at the school have consistently dominated the NYS Science Olympiad and the City Regional Bridge Building Competition.
“The competition gave me a sense that I belonged,” one student said. “‘Maha’ taught me how I could take on scary challenges with confidence.”
Hyungmin Park, a Korean immigrant and Queens resident, was also given the award for his work at New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) in Manhattan.
Along with the award, each teacher was given a prize of $5,000 and each school was awarded $2,500 to strengthen their school’s science or mathematics department.
“This year’s winners bring excitement, rigor, innovation and commitment into their classrooms,” said Mary McCormick, president of the Fund for the City of New York. “Their students develop confidence and a life-long love of science and mathematics. These teachers are the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night to help their students achieve success. They are revered and beloved.”
Winners were chosen by an independent panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators. Learn more about the award and evaluation process by visiting this website.
The award is a collaboration between the Fund for the City of New York and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.