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Prestigious FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence nominations now open for Queens teachers

FLAG Award
(Photo via Getty Images)

Nominations are open for the fourth annual FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes and celebrates extraordinary New York City public school teachers across the five boroughs who inspire learning through creativity, passion and commitment. 

Queens students, parents, school personnel and community members are encouraged to nominate a teacher. The FLAG Award is open to K-12 teachers in public schools. Nominations are open through Dec. 2. Semifinalists will be notified by March, and winners will be announced in June. 

The city’s top public school teachers from across the five boroughs will receive cash prizes and their schools will also receive donations. 

“Teachers provide students with the foundation to succeed in life, but great teachers do more, they open up a world of possibility for our children and their futures,” said Glenn Fuhrman, founder of The FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence. “The FLAG Award allows us to recognize great teachers’ extraordinary impact.” 

Last year’s Queens Grand Prize Winner was Anastasia Difino, of P.S. 120 in Queens, an English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Difino was recognized for altering the way fourth- and fifth-grade English and social studies classes are taught at her school to accommodate the many immigrants and foreign language-speaking students.

Queens finalists and semifinalists for last year’s award included Ariel Sacks (The Renaissance Charter School), Cindy Wong (P.S. 41Q, The Crocheron School), Dr. Elechi Osueke (P.S. 136 Roy Wilkins School) and Jessica Siu (P.S. 41Q, The Crocheron School). 

Winners will be selected by a distinguished independent jury that includes Betty A. Rosa, commissioner of education and president of the University of the State of New York; Bob Hughes, director of K-12 education of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Anastasia Difino, 2022 FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence winner; Eugenie Tsai, senior curator of Contemporary Art at Brooklyn Museum; and Richard Haynes, director of school support at NYC Men Teach. 

One grand-prize winner from each New York City borough will receive a $25,000 cash prize, with an additional $10,000 awarded to the teacher’s school. Each finalist will receive a $10,000 prize and their school will receive $2,000. The school award provides additional resources for arts education, an area that is often underfunded in public schools. 

Candidates will be judged based on how well they embody the award’s CREATE criteria: 

  • Challenges and inspires students of all abilities, utilizing innovative teaching techniques and approaches to curricula and activities.
  • Reaches out beyond the classroom, making a positive impact on the school and the community.
  • Embraces their role as an educator with tireless, devoted dedication.  
  • Acknowledges the full spectrum of potential in each and every student.
  • Teaches through example, as a leader and role model both inside the classroom and out.
  • Engages in opportunities for self-improvement and continues to learn, grow and develop as a teacher.

Current full-time teachers in New York City public schools, grades K-12, with at least five years of classroom experience are eligible for nomination. 

Students, parents, principals, fellow teachers and other colleagues can nominate teachers. 

The nomination form asks nominators to fill in contact information and answer one question: Why are you nominating this teacher for the FLAG Award? Once the nomination is received, an email will be sent to the nominated teacher informing them that they have been nominated. The email will also include a link to a form containing six short essay questions in which they can express how they fit each of the CREATE criteria.

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