F-M educators named to state’s Master Teacher Program

Four members of the Fayetteville-Manlius School District have recently been named to the prestigious New York State Master Teacher Program.

The Master Teacher Program engages participants in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities, including regional cohort meetings in which the teachers participate in, and lead, several professional development sessions annually.

On Feb. 4, Governor Kathleen Hochul announced that the state selected 230 educators representing 159 school districts to join the program, including the following F-M teachers:

  • Karen Gugino: Enders Road Elementary School, third grade
  • Brett Meyerhoefer: Fayetteville-Manlius High School, science
  • Jennifer Palmer: Mott Road Elementary School, kindergarten
  • Patricia Winje: Eagle Hill Middle School, grade 8 math

“Throughout the pandemic, our educators overcame enormous obstacles, adapting to remote learning, keeping our children engaged, and made all kinds of adjustments to ensure New York’s students were able to continue their education,” Governor Hochul said. “We owe an immense debt of gratitude to our educators, and this critical program will help ensure that over one thousand teachers from every corner of New York State have the resources and support they need to excel and continue to improve the school systems that they work in.”

In 2013, the state, in partnership with The State University of New York and Math for America, created the Master Teacher Program. Through a rigorous application and selection process, the program highlights teachers across the state who are focused on continued growth in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, according to the state’s Master Teacher website. The program develops teachers’ knowledge across three domains: content; pedagogy; and students, their families and their communities.

The Master Teacher Program is split into nine regions and hosted at a SUNY campus to leverage the expertise of the university’s faculty and existing educator preparation programs, according to the state. The Central New York Region, which includes F-M, is hosted at SUNY Cortland. 

Throughout their four-year participation in the program, Master Teachers:

  • Receive a $15,000 stipend annually; 
  • Engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities throughout the academic year; 
  • Work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers; and 
  • Attend required regional meetings at their SUNY campus, participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year. 

Ten other F-M teachers are recognized on the state’s list of Master Teachers, including two holding the title of Master Teacher Emeritus, meaning they have completed the program and continue as participants in the Master Teacher network, contributing to STEM educational initiatives, locally and statewide. 

  • J. Kathleen Benedict: Fayetteville-Manlius High School, science
  • Josh Buchman (Master Teacher Emeritus): Fayetteville-Manlius High School, science 
  • Lisa Geraci-Civiletto: Fayetteville Elementary School, math academic intervention services (AIS)
  • Ben Gnacik: Fayetteville-Manlius High School, science
  • Elaina Hajduk: Fayetteville-Manlius High School, math
  • Nicholas Kirby: Eagle Hill Middle School, grade 7 science
  • Dina Kushnir (Master Teacher Emeritus): Fayetteville-Manlius High School, math
  • Rachel Mason: Fayetteville-Manlius High School, math 
  • Andra Myers: Wellwood Middle School, grade 7 math
  • Wendy Blasland: Wellwood Middle School, grade 7 science