CNY Woman is National Teacher of the Year

My profile on Gwen Maturo-Grasso, an extraordinary educator at Syracuse’s Lincoln Middle School and winner of this year’s National Teacher of the Year Award from SECME, appeared in the latest issue of NYSUT United Magazine.

Maturo-Grasso is an English teacher by training who has a deep love of science and an unerring belief that literacy is key to understanding scientific problems on tests and in the real world.

Here’s a quote from former Syracuse City School District Superintendent Dan Lowengard: “There are a couple of things that are really unusual about Gwen. For one, she prefers middle school students and can match their energy and passion,” he said. “For another, she has embraced and manifested a truly deep connection between English and the sciences. She uses literacy as a basis for helping students understand complex scientific problems, and she uses technology as a way to get them excited about reading and writing.”

Congrats to Gwen, and my own personal thank you to her for putting in so much extra work to help Syracuse students succeed.

Expanding the Power of STEM to All Students

Working to ensure the success of individuals from under-represented groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is not just the right thing to do. It’s also essential to the competitiveness of our country, and to the ability of the entire planet to find creative solutions to the daunting challenges we face.

As I explore in my most recent article for NYSUT United Magazine, STEM fields are expected to add 2.7 million jobs by 2018, far outpacing the rest of the economy.

The country needs an “all hands on deck” approach to filling its STEM jobs, something President Obama has recognized in speeches and backed up with Race to the Top funding to states like New York, which received the money in part because of its commitment to STEM education.