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Five Queens teachers win prestigious Big Apple Award for their dedication and commitment to students

Queens teachers win Big Apple Award 2022
Matthew Nelson, a 10th grade special education teacher at John Adams High School in South Ozone Park, is one of five Queens teachers who received the Big Apple Award. (Photo courtesy of NYC DOE)

Five Queens teachers were among the 20 recipients of this year’s 10th annual Big Apple Awards, a citywide recognition program celebrating New York City public school teachers who were nominated by district leaders and principals.

This year’s outstanding award winners included 13 classroom teachers, four arts teachers, a pre-K teacher, a physical education teacher and a charter school recipient. 

Queens teachers win Big Apple Award 2022
Big Apple Award recipient Lisa Cohen, a physical education teacher, from P.S. 091 Richard Arkwright in Ridgewood (Photo courtesy of NYC DOE)

The Queens honorees are as follows: 

  • Christine Galvin-Manzello, a special education teacher from P.S. 091 Richard Arkwright in Ridgewood.
  • Lisa Cohen, a physical education teacher from P.S. 091 Richard Arkwright in Ridgewood.
  • Lorenzo Anoba, who teaches 10th to 12th grade biology and general science at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Long Island City.
  • Matthew Nelson, a 10th grade special education teacher at John Adams High School in South Ozone Park.
  • Nathaniel Colon, a high school English teacher at Cambria Heights Academy. 
Queens teachers win Big Apple Award 2022
Big Apple Award recipient Christine Galvin-Manzello (center), a special education teacher at P.S. 091 Richard Arkwright in Ridgewood (Photo courtesy of NYC DOE)

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards congratulated this year’s class of awardees, including the five Queens teachers, whom he referred to as “heroes” who deserve “our endless gratitude and thanks to their service to our communities and our city.” 

“The work of educating our youth is naturally demanding and difficult, with the past two pandemic-impacted years bringing with them unimaginable and unprecedented challenges. But there is no more critical job than that of molding the young minds that pass through the doors of our schools — a job that these 20 educators conduct with grace, class and dedication every day,” Richards said. “Our future is brighter than ever because of your work to uplift our children and our families.”

Queens teachers win Big Apple Award 2022
Big Apple Award recipient Nathaniel Colon, a high school English teacher at Cambria Heights Academy (Photo courtesy of NYC DOE)

The educators were recognized by Schools Chancellor David Banks on June 23 for their leadership, demonstrated dedication to their students and contributions to their school community. 

“The educators being honored as this year’s Big Apple Award recipients are stellar role models for their profession and examples of the type of caring, compassionate staff members we want every student to have,” Banks said. “On behalf of our students, families and communities, thank you for everything you do for our youngest New Yorkers — we are forever grateful.”  

All 20 award recipients were surprised by Banks or another DOE senior leader in person to honor the incredible work they’ve done this school year, and throughout their tenure as educators. 

Mayor Eric Adams congratulated the educators who won the Big Apple Award and for their dedication and commitment to changing the lives of New York City students. 

“Being a teacher isn’t always easy, but you all have shown up as selfless and caring individuals who devote themselves to the well-being and progress of our students. Today we say thank you,” Adams said. 

A board of judges selected the 20 award recipients.

The Big Apple Awards are made possible in part by private support through the Fund for Public Schools, the DOE’s nonprofit fundraising partner, responsible for facilitating sponsored awards and ensuring that all recipients receive a classroom grant. 

“With the generous support of our private donors, The Fund for Public Schools is excited to continue to sponsor the awards which will provide a classroom grant to enable award recipients to continue to deepen their impact in the classroom and beyond,” said Julie Shapiro, chief executive officer for the Fund for Public Schools.  

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said whenever he meets with parents, they share how important and vital their children’s teachers have been this year. 

“Our educators have been lifelines for students in this pandemic. Our Big Apple winners provide a window into the amazing work being done in our classrooms and allow us the opportunity to do what we don’t do often enough — say ‘thank you,’” Mulgrew said. 

Next school year, the 20 recipients will serve as Big Apple Fellows and will have the opportunity to meet with one another, becoming leaders and ambassadors for their profession. Winners will also be invited to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Council. 

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