Finalists Chosen for 2013 Teacher of the Year (2)
Spotlight on Excellence May 2013
Finalists Chosen for 2013 Teacher of the Year
(Photos published in Hartford Courant.)
After an intensive screening and interview process, Hartford’s 2013 Teacher of the Year choice was down to three finalists. A special district wide committee selected Joseph Battaglia, an English teacher at Opportunity High School; David Mangus, a Science teacher at the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology; and Mario Marrero, a fourth-grade teacher at the Betances STEM Magnet School. The finalists were video-taped conducting a class at their schools and asked to complete a series of written essay questions as part of their final evaluation.
Teacher of the Year Finalist and Winner Mario Marrero
The winner– Mario Marrero, from the Betances STEM Magnet School– was announced on Thursday, May 23, at the annual Hartford Public Schools Teacher of the Year banquet which was held in the Marriott Hartford Downtown Hotel, located at 200 Columbus Blvd. Jerry Franklin, President and CEO of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, served as master of ceremonies for the evening.
As Teacher of the Year, Mr. Marrero will be expected to represent Hartford Public Schools and his professional colleagues at numerous public events and speaking engagements. The winner also receives gift cards worth $1,000 and becomes the district’s nominee for State Teacher of the Year.
The selection committee is made up of Hartford Public School curriculum directors, officials from the Hartford Federation of Teachers and two former winners of the event. A record 44 schools, each submitting one nominee, participated in the competition. The remaining 41 school-based candidates will also be recognized at the banquet.
Nominees, among other things, had to be tenured K-12 teachers in Hartford Public Schools; had to exhibit exemplary teaching skills and show commitment to the belief that all children can learn. They also had to show that they were active in community and humanitarian affairs.
Mr. Battaglia, who has been teaching at the district for five years, is a city resident known for using music, painting and other visual arts to connect with students. Since his assignment to Opportunity High School, the Uniondale, N.Y., native headed a team that developed teaching strategies that focused on closing the achievement gaps of the students there. The team’s work is largely credited with the 17-point growth in the school’s Overall School Index and with writing scores that climbed nearly 40 percentage points in one year.
Mr. Mangus, meanwhile, has been the Lead Science Teacher at Academy of Engineering and Green Technology for the past three years. Since 2009, he has served as the school coordinator and mentor to FIRST Robotics Team 181, the Birds of Prey, which last year won both the Connecticut and Chesapeake regional tournaments and then made it to the quarterfinals of the National Championship in St. Louis. Mr. Mangus is also the advisor to the Green Team at the academy.
Finalist David Mangus
Known as a very dedicated teacher who sets very high expectations for his students, Mr. Marrero began his career at Hartford Public Schools in 2006 teaching 6th grade at what was then known as the Annie Fisher Magnet School of Multiple Intelligence. Before moving over to Betances this year, he taught 3rd and 5th grade classes at the Milner Core Knowledge Academy, where he also coached the middle school basketball team. Mr. Marrero is also a member of the Connecticut Valley Seventh-day Adventist church, where he has taught Sabbath school and sings in the church choir.
For the second year in a row, the lead sponsors for the awards ceremony are ING Retirement Plans, the Hartford Federation of Teachers, the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin LLP, the Connecticut Science Center and one anonymous donor.