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Cuba-Rushford’s Carly Santangelo Named New York State’s 2022 Teacher of the Year

Published Friday, September 17, 2021
by NYSUT News
Cuba-Rushford’s Carly Santangelo Named New York State’s 2022 Teacher of the Year

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Union congratulates Cuba-Rushford Middle-High School Teacher and Cuba-Rushford Teachers Association Member Carly Santangelo on being named the 2022 New York State Teacher of the Year.  

Santangelo - an Agriculture Teacher whose work spans the subjects of Agri-Science, welding and small engines, and technology, to name only a few - was celebrated by the state Board of Regents and NYSUT as a hard-working role model for her students and valued Member of her rural Allegany County community.  

A Cuba-Rushford Educator since 2018 and former Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming BOCES Teacher, Santangelo takes a hands-on approach to her work, leading students in lessons that involve everything from growing produce to be donated to the school cafeteria and local food pantry to calculating the carbon stored in trees on campus to better understand the carbon cycle and changing climate. 

Her work teaches concepts that include environmental stewardship, agricultural sustainability and community building. 

Additionally, she serves as FFA adviser and has received certifications not only in agriculture and biology education, but also inquiry-based instruction from the NAAE Agri-Science Inquiry Institute and drone piloting from the FAA to teach students new skills

“Being an Educator requires strong resilience in the face of challenges and Carly exemplifies the resilience that NYSUT Members show each and every day in their classrooms,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, whose Statewide Union represents more than 600,000 Members in Education, Human Services and Health Care.

“She represents the very best qualities that Educators across the state possess: dedication, mastery of her craft, a sincere belief in the success of the entire school community and that resilience that has been so crucial especially in the last year and a half. We’re proud to call Carly a NYSUT Member,” Pallotta said. 

Santangelo focuses on developing a spirit of collaboration among her students and the school community. 

She has secured more than $10,000 in grants for the district to purchase, among other valuable school resources, a high-tunnel greenhouse and develop a schoolwide composting program. 

Santangelo’s agricultural lessons go beyond teaching students how to grow produce from seeds. 

She helped design a course that will be taught for the first time this year on how gender, racial and other global issues relate to food. 

She also engages her middle and high school students by having them share their knowledge with elementary school students, guiding them to develop and teach grade-specific compost literacy lessons.  

“Connecting students with our community is my priority, whether that’s pairing them with volunteer opportunities that further what they’ve learned in class or simply helping prepare them to be successful in any career field after graduation,” Santangelo said. “I believe in a spirit of collaboration among Educators, students and the community.  When we come together, we can show students the kind of impact they can make in the world every single day.” 

NYSUT also congratulated the four Teacher of the Year finalists: Frontier Central Teachers Association President Amber Chandler; Watervliet Teachers Association Co-President Jeanne Lance; Herkimer Faculty Association member Heather McCutcheon; and Hamburg Teachers Association Member Lynn Sajdak.  

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