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September 17, 2013
For More Information Contact:

JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201


Lewiston Porter Central School District High School Special Education Teacher Named 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year

The New York State Board of Regents announced today that Ashli Skura Dreher, a high school special education teacher at the Lewiston-Porter Central School District in Youngstown, NY, has been named the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year. Dreher was presented with a certificate of recognition by Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. Dreher was also presented with the Thomas Sobol Award and the David Johnson Award, both created as annual gifts for recipients of the Teacher of the Year award.

Dreher, the 44th New York State Teacher of the Year, has been teaching in the Lewiston-Porter Central School District for fifteen years and is the first teacher in the district to earn National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards, one of teaching’s highest honors. She currently teaches special education in an 8:1:1 high school classroom working with students with moderate intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.

"Ashli is truly a model of teaching excellence; she is the kind of teacher principals want to lead a class and parents want to teach their children,” Commissioner King said. “What I find most impressive about Ashli is her drive to continuously improve her practice. She has achieved the gold standard of teaching, National Board Certification, and is now doing dissertation-level doctoral work. Ashli's students, of course, are the ones who benefit most from her tireless dedication to honing her craft -- they are fortunate to have such an extraordinary teacher."

“New York’s teachers are among the best and most professional in the nation. Still, Ashli manages to stand out,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. “In her classroom, students with special needs receive a mix of research-based instruction and innovative lessons. Her focus on community and volunteerism, and her close collaboration with parents, make her a sterling example of what happens when great teachers and concerned parents work together on behalf of our children. I join every member of NYSUT in congratulating her.”

"Ashli has developed a most unique learning experience for her students," Lewiston-Porter High School Principal Paul Casseri said. "Certainly the learning in her class is focused on life skills and workplace experiences, but at the same time a strong emphasis is placed on academic rigor and literacy development."

Dreher is currently a dissertation level doctoral student in the Teaching and Curriculum Department of the University of Rochester's Margaret Warner School of Education and Human Development where she enjoys researching literacy, specifically the best instructional practices for teaching reading to students with moderate intellectual disabilities.

Dreher also served as the NYSUT Education and Learning Trust Regional Coordinator for the Western New York and Rochester areas for ten years to promote turnkey training and professional development for teachers and aspiring teachers, and she continues to serve as an instructor in the program teaching undergraduate courses for Ulster County Community College.

Finalists for 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year were: Abbe Guillet, a high school French teacher at C. W. Baker High School in the Baldwinsville Central School District; Emma Kress, a high school English teacher at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in the North Syracuse Central School District; and Jeanine Nielsen, a high school science teacher at Monticello High School in the Monticello Central School District.

The State Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT); The United Federation of Teachers (UFT); The New York State Parents and Teachers Association (NYSPTA); the New York State Association School Curriculum Development (NYSASCD); The New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA); The School Administrators Association of NYS (SAANYS); The New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE); The New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NYACATE); ING Financial Services, Inc.; the Smarter Kids Foundation; SMART Technologies; and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The program is run in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by CCSSO.

Applications for the Teacher of the Year Program are available in the fall of each year from the Office of Teaching of the New York State Education Department at (518) 474-4661 or online at: Individuals identified to the Education Department as outstanding teachers are also mailed applications.

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