Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today announced the winners of the tenth annual Big Apple Awards, honoring 20 exemplary educators for their leadership, demonstrated dedication to their students, and contributions to their school community.
The Big Apple Awards is a citywide recognition program celebrating New York City public school teachers, who were directly nominated by district leaders and principals.
All 20 award recipients were surprised by Chancellor 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.
This year’s outstanding award winners include 13 classroom teachers, 4 arts teachers, a pre-K teacher, a physical education teacher, and a charter school recipient.
“Congratulations to all 20 educators who won the 2022 Big Apple Award and for your dedication and commitment to changing the lives of New York City students,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “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.”
“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,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “On behalf of our students, families, and communities, thank you for everything you do for our youngest New Yorkers – we are forever grateful.”
“Whenever I meet with parents, they share how important, how 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,” said Michael Mulgrew, president, United Federation of Teachers
A board of judges selected 20 award recipients.
The Big Apple Awards are made possible in part by private support through the Fund for Public Schools – the DOE’s non-profit fundraising partner – responsible for facilitating sponsored awards and ensuring that all recipients receive a classroom grant. The Fund has partnered for a tenth year with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to sponsor the Music Education Award, as part of its role as an artistic and civic cornerstone for New York City. For the sixth year, the Physical Education Award is made possible with funding from New York Road Runners, a DOE partner that provides fitness and wellness programs to over 110,000 Rising New York Road Runners.
“The Big Apple Awards recognizes the incredible hard work and dedication of New York City’s public school educators. 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 L. Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools.
“The arts are critical to the well-being of all New Yorkers, and particularly important for young people as they find their way in a complex world,” said Jean E. Taylor, Director of Education at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “We congratulate Jeannie Kim on the Music Education Award for her inspirational work with her third grade students. We’re honored to be part of the Big Apple Awards and extend deep thanks and admiration for all of the educators recognized this year.”
“New York Road Runners is proud to be a part of the Big Apple Awards, honoring New York City’s finest teachers,” said Marissa Muñoz, Senior Vice President of Community Impact at NYRR. “The importance of educators – and the many hats they wear – cannot be overstated and we are grateful for the tireless efforts of teachers who go above and beyond to ensure today’s children stay physically and mentally fit. Our flagship youth program, Rising New York Road Runners, is on a mission to create a healthier, more empowered New York City and it’s a privilege to see that same mission reflected in all the teachers being honored.”
For a second year the DOE and The Fund have partnered with the Jody and John Arnhold Foundation to sponsor the Dance Education Award, the Arthur Miller Foundation to sponsor the Theater Education Award, and Studio in a School to sponsor the Visual Arts Education Award.
“Arts education is essential for every child Prek-12 in NYC public schools. Dance education is a critical component of a quality, engaging arts education. The Arnhold Foundation is proud to support the Big Apple Teacher Excellence in Dance Award and to recognize and celebrate Erika Bance. Erika’s excellence in teaching is exemplified by her balance of instructional practice, social-emotional support, rigorous standards, personal warmth, unflagging professionalism, and indefatigable work ethic in support of her students. Erika engages students to see themselves in their teachers, in choreographers studied, and in stories told. As a result, her students see themselves as artists. We salute Erika as a representative of the hundreds of dedicated dance educators working in NYC’s public schools Prek-12. She is a hero,” said Jody Arnold, Dance Educator and Advocate.
“Congratulations to Michael Pantone on receiving the Big Apple Theater Education Award! Mr. Pantone’s contribution to his students and school community is completely aligned with the Arthur Miller Foundation’s mission to provide equity and access to quality theater education for public school students. We are proud to sponsor this award and honor Mr. Pantone –– a dedicated theater educator who believes in the power of theater to reach all students. We thank Mr. Pantone for his unwavering commitment to create safe, brave, inclusive spaces for his students to thrive, and for being a true leader within the New York City arts education community,” said Jaime Hastings, Executive Director of the Arthur Miller Foundation.
“Studio in a School is proud to sponsor the Big Apple Visual Arts Education Award. We have been supporting children’s creative growth side by side with teachers in New York City public schools for four decades, sharing and building knowledge for a better future,” said Alison Scott-Williams, President of the Studio in a School NYC.
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.
“New York City’s public school teachers are extraordinary public servants who are deeply committed to educating and supporting their students,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The recipients of this year’s Big Apple Awards have gone above and beyond in their leadership and dedication to our school communities, and are highly worthy of this outstanding accolade. As a city, we are grateful for their innumerable contributions. I congratulate all of this year’s honorees and thank the principals, students, and parents for their hard work throughout the school year!”
“I wouldn’t be where I am without the New York City public school teachers who believed in me,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “Educators are essential to our communities, and deserve recognition, celebration, and support for all their hard work, perseverance, and dedication. To this year’s winners – thank you for all the exceptional, exemplary work you do each day to build and shape the next generation of leaders.”
“I am exceptionally proud of all the Big Apple Award Winners, and glad to see such robust representation of Manhattan schools and educators in this year’s winning class” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The diversity of their focus and expertise from the arts to ELA to special education & bilingual instruction shows the omnipresence of dedicated educators across our Borough and school system. It is because of practitioners like these that NYC schoolchildren will not only be in position to productively participate in our society but, more importantly, be in position to transform it for the better for generations to come.”
“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.” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “This year’s class of awardees, including five Queens winners, are heroes who deserve our endless gratitude and thanks for their service to our communities and our city. Our future is brighter than ever because of your work to uplift our children and our families.”
“Congratulations to this year’s Big Apple Award winners for their continued commitment to our city’s youngest residents. Educators and school staff work tirelessly to help guide and educate our children and being able to recognize their hard work and dedication is important. Thank you to our schools’ supporters for making this recognition possible year-after-year,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
“Our teachers have been on the frontlines during the pandemic and we owe them a debt of gratitude for educating our future generation. Congratulations to this year’s Big Apple award winners and thank you for all that you do for our students,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson.
“The Big Apple Award winners represent the “best” of the best. They go above and beyond to serve our students and their fellow colleagues. These special educators exceed all standards and create a supportive learning environment that enriches our school communities. I especially wish to acknowledge Emily Doherty of P.S. 175 on City Island, a special education teacher, like myself, for being selected for this prestigious award. To all the 2022 winners, thanks for your exemplary service,” said Assemblymember Michael R. Benedetto.
“I offer my full congratulations to the teachers who are being honored with this year’s Big Apple Award. Our educators are the backbone of our public education system, and as a former DOE teacher, it’s so exciting to see some of my former colleagues get the recognition that they deserve,” said Councilmember Rita Joseph.
This year’s Big Apple Award recipients come from all five boroughs and teach a range of subjects and grade levels.
A full list of recipient bios can be found here.
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