The National Association of Biology Teachers named Hilton High School educator Michael Szczepanik, of North Greece, as the 2019 Outstanding Biology Teacher for New York.
The award goes to a candidate who demonstrates innovative teaching methods and exemplary relationships with students, faculty and parents; continually reflects and improves their performance; and demonstrates leadership and collegiality inside and outside of school through professional associations.
“A resounding focus of Mike’s recommendations was that he has provided an environment where students are at the center of their learning,” said Kathy Hoppe, Outstanding Biology Teacher Award director for NABT. “His classroom is like a team and it takes every member to make it successful.”
Szczepanik has taught in the Hilton Central School District since 1996. He teaches Advanced Placement biology and living environment. He also taught International Baccalaureate biology, Regents chemistry, environmental science and human biology.
“Mr. Szczepanik is organized and driven in ensuring our school is making adequate progress toward our two overarching goals: improving our response to intervention practices and digital citizenship preparedness,” said Principal Jeffrey Green, one of Szczepanik’s nominators for the award.
Outside of the classroom, Szczepanik participates in the Teacher Technology Leader program to share technology integration strategies with staff, and the district’s Instructional Video Coaching program to fine tune his teaching practice. He is a state Master Teacher program emeritus and presented to several groups on topics such as “Growth versus Fixed Mindset.”
“Mike can be counted on to share information on the newest research in biology and be able to find ways to apply it to classroom instruction,” said Dawn George, science teacher and fellow nominator.
Every year, NABT recognizes an outstanding biology teacher for grades 7-12 in each of the 50 states. OBTA recipients are special guests of Carolina Biology Supply Co. at the November honors luncheon held at the NABT Professional Development Conference in Chicago. Award recipients receive a one-year NABT membership and resources from sponsors for their classroom.