Hartford Public Schools Announces 2019 Teacher of the Year

Hartford Public Schools Announces 2019 Teacher of the Year

Narciso Moquete (pictured above,) a 4th grade teacher at SAND School is the 2019 Hartford Public Schools Teacher of the Year.


Teacher of the Year Banquet at Marriot Celebrates the Excellence of Our Hartford Teachers.


The winner of the 2019 Teacher of the Year Award for Hartford Public Schools was announced Thursday evening, May 23, 2019 at the Hartford Marriot Downtown Hotel.  The crowd erupted in loud cheers and applause when Mr. Narciso Moquete, a 4th grade teacher at SAND School was announced as the 2019 Teacher of the Year.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Moquete recounted a student asking him, “If you will be Teacher of the Year, does that make us the Students of the Year?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Moquete, “It does.”

Narciso Moquete was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He is one of six siblings. He came to live in the Frog Hollow section of the city of Hartford, CT when he was four years old. He is proud to say he is a product of the Hartford Public Schools system. Narciso attended Kindergarten to fifth grade at Dominic F. Burns School. After completing his sixth grade year at Noah Webster School, Narciso went on to Quirk Middle School. Upon graduating from Hartford Public High School, he enrolled at Central Connecticut State University to pursue a teaching degree.

Narciso later went on to earn his reading specialist certification from CCSU. He is the first of his family to earn a Master’s degree. Learn more about Mr. Moquete.

The competition for Hartford’s 2019 Teacher of the Year began with 40 teachers nominated by their schools to participate in this year’s selection process. Each nominee underwent an intensive screening and interview process conducted by a district-wide Teacher of the Year Committee made up of Hartford Public Schools curriculum directors, officials from the Hartford Federation of Teachers and previous award winners.

All nominees must be tenured K-12 teachers in the Hartford Public Schools system. They must exhibit exemplary teaching skills, show commitment to the belief that all children can learn and must be active in community and humanitarian affairs.

Last year’s winner was Benjamin Carlson, a Physical Education teacher at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School.  At the 2019 awards ceremony, Mr. Carlson delivered a brief and moving plea to all faculty and staff to focus on unity and helping one another.

After its review, the committee selected three finalists. Each finalist was then recorded on video while conducting a class in their school. They were also asked to complete a series of written essay questions for the final evaluation.

The annual awards banquet included all nominees and over 500 total guests. This event was funded through individual ticket sales and generous local sponsors. The lead sponsors for the Teacher of the Year awards ceremony were VOYA Financial and Specialty Transportation. Other Major Sponsors included:  AXA Advisors, LLC, Pullman and Comley, Hartford Federation of Teachers, Shipman and Goodwin LLP, The Village for Families & Children, Bear’s Smokehouse, City Steam Brewery, Waterford Group Charitable Foundation, Inc., Office Depot, California Pizza Kitchen, and Church & Main Deli.

The three FINALISTS were:

  • Zuleyka Shaw – A science teacher at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
  • Nicole DiFabio – A social studies teacher at Hartford Public High School
  • Narciso Moquete – A 4th grade teacher at SAND School


Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez served as presenter of the 2019 Teacher of the Year award and announced the winner, Narciso Moquete.




A list of this year’s nominees:

School / Location Candidate name
Asian Studies at Bellizzi School Tina Titus
Betances Early Reading Lab Magnet School Donna DiPreta
Breakthrough II Magnet (North) School Afton Gilyard
Breakthrough Magnet (South) School Danielle Mullings
Bulkeley High School Gina Rodriguez
Burns Latino Studies Academy Cheyenne Mayo
Burr School Amanda Webster
Capital Preparatory Magnet Lee Mascolo
Classical Magnet Lauren Silva
Environmental Sciences Magnet at Mary Hooker Kerry Eagan
Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan Lisa Gruber
Global Communications Academy Sharon Ford
Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College Liahna Gonda-King
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy Zuleyka Shaw
Hartford PreK Magnet School Laura Gouin
High School, Inc. / JMA Susan Johnston
HPHS Academy of Engineering & Green Technology Nicole DiFabio
HPHS Law and Government Academy Kaitlyn Curran
HPHS Nursing Academy Elizabeth Matthews
Kennelly School Ashley Bonet
Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts Heather Dinnald
M.D. Fox School Laura Munafo
McDonough Middle School Kailyn Polzella
Milner Elementary School Keisha Evans
MLK Middle School at Rawson Rosanne Morris
Naylor School Jose Rosario
New Visions Amy Baldyga
Parkville Community School Patricia Hahn
Pathways Academy of Technology & Design Katie Boiteau
Rawson School Ella Barnes
Renzulli Gifted & Talented Academy Sarah Cheney
Sanchez Elementary School Carmelo Genovese
SAND School Narciso Moquete
Sport & Medical Sciences Academy Tawnya Jacocks
STEM Magnet School at Annie Fisher Joshua Blanchfield
STEM Magnet School at Dwight Danielle Fasciocco
University High Magnet Kate Grayeb
Webster MicroSociety Magnet School Amanda Pino
West Middle School Mary Ellen Fritz
Wish Museum School Jessie Ponzo