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Thirteen city “master teachers” to receive $60,000 bonuses over four years

Updated at 6:02 p.m. — Thirteen “master teachers” working in New York City schools will receive a $60,000 bonus paid over the next four years, the state announced Monday, part of a statewide teacher retention strategy launched last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The New York State Master Teacher Program was established as a way to encourage top teachers to stay in the classroom and to offer more support for new teachers. No New York City teachers were selected in the program’s first round, announced last spring, because then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city teachers union had failed to negotiate a teacher evaluation plan in time to qualify.

City teachers were allowed to apply this year through Math for America, an organization that already offers fellowships to math and science teachers and which helped set up the statewide program last year. The city cohort represents a disproportionately small share — just 4 percent — of the 319 teachers selected statewide.

Below is a list of the names of teachers who won the grants, which will be administered in four $15,000 annual bonuses.

Last year, teachers were supposed to have received a top rating on their evaluations, in addition to at least four years of experience teaching math or science—though officials said they later scrapped the evaluation requirement because ratings weren’t released in time. Since the 13 city teachers haven’t yet received ratings this year, because they are still in their first year of being evaluated, a spokesman for the State University of New York said that other criteria were considered, including college transcripts, resumes, observation reports, supervisor recommendations and an “extensive interview.”

The state has struggled to attract teachers eligible to receive the grants. Last year, Cuomo hoped to give out 250 grants, but ended up selecting just 104 teachers from a pool of more than 300 applications. Today’s announcement added 215 more teachers, bringing the total to 319. Officials said that 399 applications were submitted for the latest round of grants.

In exchange for the bonuses, the master teachers will mentor and coach new teachers in science and math subjects.

The program is one of many that have cropped up in recent years at the city, state and national levels with the aim of improving teacher quality. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the teachers union have both said that teacher retention is a top priority for them as they negotiate terms of a new contract.

“The Master Teacher Program creates a community of teacher experts dedicated to providing a first-rate learning experience for students across New York, and contributes to our efforts to attract and retain the best and the brightest in our STEM classrooms,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Here are the names of New York City’s “master teachers” who will receive the state’s grant:

Rayhan Ahmed

Kate Belin

Lauren Brady

Michael Holmes

Alia Jackson

Yelena Khevelev

Chris Luzniak

Bushra Makiya

Mackenzie Rossi

Bruce Samuels

Laginne Walker

Steve Watson

Eszter Weisz

Here’s the full breakdown:

The total number of Master Teachers in each region and the respective SUNY partner campuses are:

· Capital Region: 23 (University at Albany)

· Central New York: 62 (SUNY Cortland)

· Finger Lakes: 18 (SUNY Geneseo)

· Long Island: 42 (Stony Brook University)

· Mid-Hudson: 37 (SUNY New Paltz)

· Mohawk Valley: 19 (SUNY Oneonta)

· New York City: 13 (in partnership with Math for America)

· North Country: 34 (SUNY Plattsburgh)

· Southern Tier: 23 (Binghamton University)

· Western New York: 48 (SUNY Buffalo State)

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