Governor Cuomo Announces Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program

May 16, 2016

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Statewide Award Program Recognizes Educators Who Ensure Student Learning is Exciting, Motivating and Challenging

Honorees to Receive $5,000 Stipend to Support Professional Development

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program which recognizes teachers across New York who are successfully preparing a new generation of learners for the future. The program honors outstanding individuals who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, working to foster creativity, instill a love of learning, and inspire independent thinking and student initiative.

"New York State has thousands of excellent teachers who prepare our students for the future and help them reach their full potential," Governor Cuomo said. "This new program will recognize our most outstanding educators, while supporting their professional growth. I commend all teachers for their dedication to making a difference in the lives of students across the state."

Each year, the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program will recognize teachers from 10 different regions of New York, spanning from the North Country to New York City. Public school teachers are eligible to apply for recognition. Any member of the public can nominate a teacher by filling out a recommendation here by June 1, 2016. Teachers who are nominated will be notified via email and asked to submit an application.

New York teachers are invited to submit an application for final consideration by a panel of leaders from several New York professional education associations. Applications are due by June 10, 2016 and recipients will be announced on June 17, 2016.

Members of the panel include:

  • Bonnie Russell, President of the NYS Parent Teacher Association
  • Catalina Fortino, Vice President of the New York State United Teachers
  • Kevin Casey, Executive Director, School Administrators Association of NYS
  • Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers
  • Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY
  • Robert Reidy, Executive Director of the NYS Council of School Superintendents

Honorees will receive a $5,000 stipend to support their professional development interests and will also be invited to meet with university, workforce and policy leaders across the state to share their expertise and insights.

For more information on the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program, please visit:

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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