Since first learning of the New York State Master Teacher program, Gloversville High School science teacher Jennifer Hazzard was driven to apply for it. The effort she put into the rigorous application process paid off with Hazzard being among 214 educators from across the state named Master Teachers this year.
Hazzard is the first Gloversville educator to be selected for the New York State Master Teacher program, and she is one of 28 in the Mohawk Valley region recently chosen for the program. NYS Master Teachers are specially designated teachers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subject areas.
“The first time I heard of it, I knew immediately that the Master Teacher program was an honor I wanted to bring to Gloversville. I am so proud of the work being done by our faculty, staff and students in Gloversville, and I want people outside to see our district in this same light,” she said. “Every kid should feel proud of where they come from. I consider it part of my job to show people how amazing our kids and our schools are. Our students deserve that. This program was just one more way to accomplish a little of that.”
Currently in her fourth year at Gloversville High School (and nine years overall as a science teacher), Hazzard teaches a range of courses for students in grades 10-12, which includes Regents chemistry, applied physics, and applied chemistry. This year, she is piloting a Project Lead the Way biomedical science course at the high school. She also serves as an adjunct instructor of chemistry and physics at Fulton Montgomery Community College.
Established in 2013 in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY), the Master Teacher program was developed in response to the call to strengthen K-12 STEM education. Participating educators attend regional meetings at SUNY campuses throughout the state, and receive annual stipends of $15,000 for the duration of their participation. Master Teachers must participate in 50 hours of professional development in addition to their regular school responsibilities, and meet regularly on evenings and weekends to participate in activities.
Hazzard considers herself a lifelong learner and is looking forward to the variety of professional development opportunities the Master Teacher program offers.
“I intend to always grow as a teacher and a person, and to bring some innovative and exciting methods, labs, activities and technology into my classroom,” she said. “I plan to spend a lot of time in workshops and seminars over the next four years learning alongside the best of the best teachers in this state.”
The Master Teacher program also presents experienced educators, like Hazzard, an opportunity to work closely with student teachers and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to recruit, train and support new teachers, which is especially important as we are entering into a major shortage in the profession,” she said. “I am proud to be a part of that process.”
Gloversville High School Principal Richard DeMallie was not at all surprised by Hazzard’s selection to the NYS Master Teacher Program. “Her passion for education is infectious, and you become a better professional and person just by being in her presence. Her energy is unmatched,” he said. “As a Master teacher she will be afforded professional development opportunities that will only increase her ability to provide our students with the most up-to-date instructional strategies, and intervention methods that will not only benefit her present classes but future classes, as well. We are extremely proud of Mrs. Hazzard and our community is blessed to have her as an educator for our children.”
Above all, for Hazzard this honor is about her students. “Again, I am just hoping that my students realize that I truly want to make them proud, because I truly am so proud and amazed by them every day.”
With this year’s addition of new Master Teachers, this network now includes more than 900 educators across New York State. The group will be officially appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January 2018.