HPS Selects 3 Finalists for the 2019 Teacher of the Year Title

HPS Selects 3 Finalists for the 2019 Teacher of the Year Title

After an intensive screening and interview process, Hartford’s 2019 Teacher of the Year choice is down to three finalists.

A special district wide committee selected Zuleyka Shaw, a science teacher at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy; Nicole DiFabio, a social studies teacher at Hartford Public High School’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology; and Narciso Moquete, a 4th grade teacher at SAND School.  The finalists are being video-taped conducting a class at their schools and asked to complete a series of written essay questions as part of their final evaluation.
Zuleyka Shaw
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
Nicole DiFabio
Hartford Public High School
Narciso Moquete
SAND School
 Read more about this science teacher, here.  Read more about this social studies teacher here.  Read more about this 4th grade teacher here.
The selection committee is made up of Hartford Public Schools academic professionals, officials from the Hartford Federation of Teachers, and former winners of the event. 40 schools, each submitting one nominee, are participating in the competition. All school-based candidates will also be recognized at the banquet.
The winner will be announced on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet to be held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown Hotel, located at 200 Columbus Blvd.


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 efforts. Last year’s winner was Benjamin Carlson, a Physical Education teacher at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School.




Here are 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


Hartford Public Schools is grateful to its invaluable event sponsors.

Lead sponsor VOYA Financial Advisors, Inc., Co-lead sponsor Specialty Transportation, AXA Advisors, Pullman & Comley, the Hartford Federation of Teachers, Shipman & Goodwin Counselors at Law, the Church & Main Deli, City Steam Brewery Café, Bears Restaurant Group, The Village for Families and Children, the Waterford Group Charitable Foundation, California Pizza Kitchen, and Office Depot.

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