HERKIMER — Eighth-grade science teacher Suemarie Simpson is among 214 educators recently selected from across the state to join the New York State Master Teacher program.
Simpson joins the network of more than 900 master teachers, who commit to a four-year program of professional development and mentoring.
"It’s a great honor to be recognized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a master STEM teacher," Simpson said in a news release.
The veteran teacher worked as a scientist for more than 18 years before returning to her alma mater — Le Moyne College — to get her teaching certification. She has been teaching chemistry and eighth-grade science at Herkimer for almost two decades.
"More than 18 years later, I still enjoy the ‘aha’ moment when students make a connection," Simpson said in the release.
Simpson said she tries to use real-life situations in the classroom so learning is fun and memorable. She often quotes Aristotle, who said "what you learn to do, you learn by doing," and reminds her students that "it’s not magic, it’s science, so let’s do it!"
The master teacher program was initiated in 2013 in partnership with the SUNY system. Participating educators attend regional cohort meetings at SUNY campuses throughout the state, and receive annual stipends of $15,000 for the duration of their participation.