School of Education names 2016 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recipients

The School of Education at SUNY New Paltz established the Dean’s Award for Excellence in teaching in 1984 to recognize outstanding teachers in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Each awardee is nominated by a school district administrator, with written support from the teachers’ colleagues, students and parents of students.

This year’s honorees received their awards at a ceremony on campus last week:

Lauren Forstbauer—Global 10, Kingston High School
Forstbauer is a graduate of the Bard College MAT program and an Early Career nominee. A six-year veteran of the Global 10 and Global 10 Honors courses, she is also the moderator of the school’s Model United Nations and International Studies Club. Forstbauer is noted by colleagues for her constant striving to provide unique learning experiences for her students, as when she raised $11,500 in four months to take 24 junior and senior students to Barcelona for the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Mark Harris—Advanced Robotics, Engineering and Custom Design Manufacturing, Ulster BOCES
Mark Harris is a champion of robotics and engineering, who has received more than $250,000 in donations from companies and their partners to build up the Ulster BOCES robotics and engineering programs, resulting in a new computer numeric manufacturing lab. He has worked on numerous special projects with is students: they won first place in a competition for building and racing a solar-powered car from Texas to California, won a competitive Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant, and are currently working on a robotic hand for stroke and accident victims who have lost use of their hands.

Christine McCartney ’07g (Adolescence Education: English)—English 9-12, Newburgh Free Academy North Campus
Christine McCartney is a SUNY New Paltz alumna, a Fulbright scholar, a Gilder-Lehrman Fellow and a Fund for Teachers Fellow. She has worked as an English teacher in Newburgh for nine years and is a consultant teacher for the Hudson Valley Writing Project based at SUNY New Paltz. She helped develop the School XQ Project to assist in bringing needed funds for technological advancement in high schools and worked with students to bring the North Campus literary magazine, The Colonnade, back to life.

Aaron McCasland ’16g (School Leadership)—Spanish I, German II, III, IV, & V, IB 1 and IB 2, Red Hook High School
Aaron McCasland is an alumnus of the School of Education’s graduate program in School Leadership and another Early Career nominee. He teaches five language classes, including two at the International Baccalaureate level. As the advisor of the Red Hook High School Model United Nations, he has brought students to seven conferences in the past two years. McCasland also organizes trips to New York City for students to experience German art and culture, including cuisine.

Al Musico—Global 9, Wallkill Senior High School
Al Musico of Wallkill Senior High School is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a twenty-year veteran of the teaching profession. Musico used Skype to connect his students with a classroom of 9th graders in China, enabling them to learn about Asia in a new and direct way. He has hosted mock trials and debates, and has also organized homecoming, freshman orientation, school dances and athletic events.

Cassandra Taylor ’13g (Special Ed: Adolescence)—English 9, Kingston High School
Cassandra Taylor, a graduate of SUNY New Paltz, has enlivened the English program at the Scholars Academy in Kingston High School. She was influential in organizing and facilitating a celebration of Black History Month for her students and for the community, a new event well on its way to becoming a permanent part of the Scholars Academy curriculum.

More information about the School of Education is available online.