Second-grade teacher in Schenectady named state Teacher of the Year

Zoller Elementary School's Kathleen Ferguson honored.

Zoller Elementary School second-grade teacher Kathleen Ferguson was named the 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year.

Ferguson was presented with a certificate of recognition today by Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.

Ferguson has been teaching in the Schenectady City School District since 1998. She taught first grade at Martin Luther King Magnet School from 1998 to 2007 and at Zoller since then co-teaching in a class with special education teachers.

In May 2010, she was recognized as the district’s teacher of the year for her effective communication and classroom management skills. She developed a system where students get a note every day for good behavior and 10 notes earn them a prize, according a previous Daily Gazette story.

Ferguson said in a statement she was honored by the recognition.

“I am deeply touched to have been selected to fill this role as ambassador for teachers of the great state of New York,” she said.

Ferguson said she tries to present information in a variety of ways and a number of times in order to give students the opportunity to hear, see and experience topics in a way that is understandable to them, according to a press release.

“One of my best qualities as a teacher is my ability to reach every student,” she said. “Everybody learns.”

Ferguson said she sets high expectations for students.

She has also been active in mentoring teachers. She has co-led a workshop given by the Charitable Leadership Foundation and a 31-page booklet describing her classroom literacy centers.

“Teaching is much more than a profession to me. It is my calling,” she said in a statement. “I accept the responsibility that everything I say and do as a teacher will impact the lives of my students.”

Ferguson said teachers work very hard — often without recognition. “Recognition is not what we are working for,” she said. “We are dedicated to molding the minds of our future.”

For more on the story, see Wednesday’s print and online editions of The Gazette.

Categories: Schenectady County

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