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October 10, 2012
For More Information Contact:

Jonathan Burman or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201


Webster Central School District High School Social Studies Teacher Named 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year

The New York State Board of Regents announced today that Gregory Ahlquist, a high school social studies teacher at Webster Thomas High School in Webster, has been named the 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year. Ahlquist was presented with a certificate of recognition by Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. Ahlquist 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.

Ahlquist, the 43rd New York State Teacher of the Year, has been teaching in the Webster Central School District for twelve years and is the winner of the district’s Oak Tree Award for teaching. He currently teaches AP World History and AP European History. He has also taught Humanities and a Holocaust elective in the recent past. For the past 14 years, he has been an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Geneseo teaching Humanities, as well as History and Latin courses.

"Teachers like Gregory Ahlquist give selflessly to their students and communities everyday," Commissioner King said. "Great teachers help make great students, and Gregory Ahlquist is one of those great teachers. He deserves to be recognized as Teacher of the Year. Our goal is to make sure every student graduates ready for college and careers. Everyday, Gregory Ahlquist’s unwavering dedication to teaching and learning moves his students closer to that goal."

"New York’s classrooms are filled with caring, dedicated teachers. Gregory stands out for his passion for teaching, his leadership in the community and his commitment to social justice," said New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "He is an inspiration to everyone in his school district, especially his students, and is an example for all of us to follow."

Viewing his role as a guide, Ahlquist works with his students to create an intellectual and creative space for them to understand not only history, but also how those patterns and trends shape today’s world and events. His continued interest and research in history has led to two published articles on medieval history, reflecting a passion that he passes on to his students each day.

King noted that Ahlquist also believes strongly in partnering with students and modeling active citizenship and a concern for social justice through several annual community events that help the hungry as well as raise money and awareness in the fight against leukemia. Ahlquist notes that all parts of his teaching and service are rooted in a growth mindset and his firm belief in the potential of all students to learn, as demonstrated by his involvement in the district initiative to increase the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses.

Finalists for 2013 New York State Teacher of the Year were: Neil Lange, a Resource Room Teacher for grades 9-12 at Bennett High School within the Buffalo Public Schools; Stephanie Muson, an 8th grade Social Studies teacher at Briarcliff Middle School in Briarcliff Manor; Grace Barrett, an Art teacher of grades 6 through 8 at Commack Middle School in Commack; and Julene Waffle, an English teacher of grades 11 and 12 at Morris Central School in Morris.

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 Congress of Parents and Teachers (NYSPTA); the New York State Association for School and Curriculum Development (NYSASCD); The New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA); The School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS); The New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE); The New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NYACTE); 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.