The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) has named Michael Szczepanik, Hilton High School biology teacher, as the 2019 Outstanding Biology Teacher for New York. The award is given to a candidate who demonstrates innovative teaching methods and exemplary relationships with students, faculty and parents; continually reflects and improves his/her performance; and demonstrates leadership and collegiality inside and outside of school through professional associations.
“A resounding focus of Mike’s recommendations was that he has provided an environment where students are at the center of their learning,” said Kathy Hoppe, Outstanding Biology Teacher Award director for NABT. “His classroom is like a team and it takes every member to make it successful.”
Szczepanik has been teaching in the Hilton School District since 1996. He currently teaches Advanced Placement Biology and Living Environment. He has also taught International Baccalaureate (IB) Biology, Regents Chemistry, Environmental Science and Human Biology.
“Mr. Szczepanik is organized and driven in ensuring our school is making adequate progress toward our two overarching goals – improving our response to intervention practices and digital citizenship preparedness,” said Hilton High School Principal Dr. Jeffrey Green, who was one of several people nominating Szczepanik for the award.
Outside of the classroom, Szczepanik participates in the Teacher Technology Leader Program where he shares technology integration strategies with staff, and the district’s Instructional Video Coaching program to fine tune his teaching practice. He is a New York State Master Teacher Program Emeritus and has presented to several groups on topics such as “Growth versus Fixed Mindset.”
“Mike can be counted on to share information on the newest research in biology and be able to find ways to apply it to classroom instruction,” said Dawn George, Hilton High School science teacher who also nominated Szczepanik for the award.
Szczepanik and his wife, Kelly, live in North Greece with their twin six-year old boys, who are in first grade at Quest Elementary School in Hilton.
Every year, NABT recognizes an outstanding biology teacher for grades 7-12 in each of the 50 states. OBTA recipients are special guests of Carolina Biology Supply Company at the Honors Luncheon held at the NABT Professional Development Conference in Chicago on Nov. 16. Award recipients receive a one-year membership to NABT and resources from sponsors to bring back to their classroom.