Four Great Neck Educators Named 2019 Master Teachers


Four teachers from Great Neck Public Schools have been named to the New York State Master Teacher Program (NYSMTP).

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at the end of September that 228 new teachers, 90 of whom teach on Long Island, had been named to the NYSMTP in 2019. The program was formed through a partnership with Math for America, a New York City-based nonprofit that tries to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education throughout the country. Currently, more than 1,200 of the state’s STEM teachers have been given the honor since the program was first announced in 2013.

“We are proud to host the state’s Master Teacher Program that provides innovative solutions to combat the chronic shortages of educators in our highest need areas throughout the state,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said. “By helping to increase our pool of talented teachers, we can ensure that more students, beginning at younger ages, can receive the highest quality education they deserve.”

Teachers named to the NYSMTP are given a four-year fellowship, complete with an annual stipend of $15,000, where they can continue to be educated in STEM and work with a cohort of teachers to develop methods to better educate their students.
Here are the Great Neck teachers who have earned the distinction:

Neel Chugh
The chair of the Great Neck South High School’s mathematics department, Chugh currently teaches Alegbra 2 and Precalculus to the school’s students. He received his MAT in Math Education from American University, and his EdM in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Chugh is also a Desmos Fellow, and has worked extensively to make mathematics learning more visual.

Michael DiPasquale
DiPasquale has taught for 18 years, and currently serves as the Department Chair of Science at Great Neck North Middle School. DiPasquale played a key role in switching the school to an 8th grade Regents Earth Science curriculum, which allowed students to earn Regents credit for completing the course. He also advanced an “upside-down classroom” teaching model, where his students consume instructional material at home and work with each other in the classroom to solve problems and help each other better understand the material.

Tobias Hatten
Hatten is an earth science teacher and the Department Chair of Science at Great Neck South Middle School. His research career brought him everywhere from Montana to New Zealand, and included time spent studying possible tsunami deposits in Long Island’s Great South Bay. Hatten’s teaching style focuses on immersion to help stimulate a passion for learning, most notably seen in his famous “Great Earth History Mystery” lesson, where his students investigate to find out what killed the dinosaurs.

Donna Plante
An earth scientist by background, Plante worked as a field hydrologist for years until she decided to pursue her passion and become a teacher. Now a decade in to her new career, Plante teachers various earth science courses at Great Neck South Middle School, and also serves as an advisor to the school’s Science Olympiad team. She emphasizes connecting her lessons to the real world, and has helped her students get involved in community efforts like a cleanup of Lake Ronkonkoma.

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