Questar III BOCES launched a new Master Teacher Program, an opportunity to create a collaborative effort between the Questar III administration and the Teachers’ Association. The program recognizes the special skills and talents of experienced teachers while enhancing their professional development.

To be selected for a two-year term, a teacher is required to submit an application, two letters of recommendation, a written statement on why they want to become a Master Teacher, their resume, and peer-reviewed lesson plans. Upon selection, the five Master Teachers work together to share their experiences, expertise, and professional development across Questar III BOCES. The second year of their term is dedicated to mentoring the next group of Master Teachers.

Questar III BOCES would like to congratulate this talented group of Master Teachers:

The Master Teachers have already begun their collaboration efforts. They attended conferences over the summer, are working on the Questar III BOCES Portrait of a Graduate, and reviewing alternative grading policies. They will work towards providing professional development opportunities and are eager to learn more about the schools and programs outside the ones they teach.

Katryna Lawyer is a Special Education Math teacher for the Regents Program at the Robert H. Gibson Technical School. She also helps with teaching English, Health, Digital Skills & other subjects as needed. Katryna joined Questar III BOCES in 2012 as a teacher at Tech Valley High School. She later moved to Sackett Education Center and was among the first Special Education teachers at Robert H. Gibson Technical School’s Special Education programs.

When asked why she chose to apply for the Master Teacher program, it came down to growth for herself, her students, and the overall curriculum.

“I was looking to expand outside the classroom and do more with building curriculum based on my own experience,” said Katryna. “My students are unique, and so is the way we teach them. I want to bring these tactics to others who could find it beneficial in their own classrooms.”

Many students join our Special Education programs early on in life and will continue with us through high school. With this in mind, Katryna hopes to make impactful changes to the curriculum in the future.

“I’d love to see the curriculum flow better, especially from middle to high school”, said Katryna. “Making updates to the curriculum will ensure our students are prepared as they move throughout their educational journey.”

Katryna has been working on several projects with the other Master Teachers, including a curriculum based on the new math standards and the Questar III BOCES Portrait of a Graduate. Portrait of a Graduate is a program that allows the education system and the broader community the opportunity to help build a unifying, collective vision for students.

“I think Portrait of a Graduate can bring all of Questar III BOCES together,” said Katryna. “We have so many different programs here, from Pre-K, to different types of Special Education, Career and Technical Education, Adult Ed – there are so many facets of education here, and this will help others give others a better understanding of those around them, not just their specific program.”

Katryna saw the Master Teacher program as an opportunity to work towards career growth, while not having to leave the classroom. Long term, she hopes to find herself working towards a math curriculum or instructional leadership position and finds this program to be a great first step. She appreciates that Questar III BOCES has launched this program.

“It made me feel included and heard,” said Katryna. “As teachers, we know what we want and what we need. As a Master Teacher, we get to work with the administration on these requests. I hope we get a broader representation of teachers next year, like Career and Technical Education, so we can bring even more of us together and share ideas on how to make positive changes.”

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