Written by The Levittown Tribune Staff Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00
Two teachers in the Island Trees School District have been selected as the recipients of the Harvard Club’s “Distinguished Teacher of 2014 Award,” for their dedication as educators.
Lori Christensen has been an English teacher in the Island Trees School District for 17 years, and currently serves as Chairperson of her department. She proudly advises the National Honor Society, teaches The College Process, a senior elective and mentors new teachers.
Ms. Christensen describes herself as defined by the “three Rs: Running, Reading, and wRiting.” During the year, she is known for attracting teens, teachers, and friends alike for book chat; and during the summer enjoys jogging the Long Beach Boardwalk each day before relaxing with a good book.
Ms. Christensen has received the prestigious “Teacher of Excellence” award from the New York State English Council and, more importantly, received the first ever Teacher of the Year award at Island Trees High School.
Mr. Wagner, has taught all but one of his 22 years in the Island Trees district. He currently teaches Physical Setting Earth Science, a course he finds wonderfully stimulating. As the coach of the Island Trees Science Olympiad Team, he enjoys the variety of science that must be mastered, noting that some of what he teaches is college-level material.
An avid photographer of nature and wildlife, Wagner’s hobbies almost consume his interest as much as teaching does. From photographing glacial geology in Alaska to canyons and rock formations in Australia, he tries to use his photos to create memorable images for his students.
Both Christensen and Wagner were nominated for their awards by Kathryn J. Gundersen, a former Island Trees High School student who will graduate from Harvard College in June 2017.
Gundersen said that through the teachings of Mr. Wagner, she learned what it means to be passionate about your work.
“I’d never really considered science my ‘thing,’” Gundersen says, “but his passion was absolutely contagious. I can only hope to be as passionate about my future work as he is about his own.”
Both teachers exhibit a work ethic second to none, according to Elizabeth Roemer, the Island Trees School District Administrator for Educational Programs, Literacy, and Staff Development. Roemer has worked side by side with both Ms. Christensen and Mr. Wagner, over the past 25 years, and feels they are influential because they live their values.
“Lori leaves the building each day with her purple teaching bag slung on her shoulder, heavy with stacks of her students’ AP Language and Composition papers, current event article responses, and dialectical journals,” Roemer said. “Each night (and weekend) she works tirelessly to offer her students valuable feedback on their written analyses. And she expects the same from her students; just ask any of them, and they would be happy to tell you all about it.”
Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00
Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.
The Levittown School District has been vigilant with the increase of cases in general. “We are continuing to implement the precautions provided by the health department and the CDC,” said Levittown School District Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Personnel Darlene Rhatigan. “We are also reminding students and staff to be mindful of the importance of proper hygiene including frequent hand washing.”
Thursday, 23 October 2014 11:30
Audrey Zhang, a sixth grader at Island Trees Memorial Middle School, took home first place in the Long Island Arts Alliance (LIAA) on Sept. 17. Zhang was honored at the Cradle of Aviation Museum for her work and was presented with a $500 check and an iPad Mini. Many dignitaries were on hand, including State Education Department Regent Roger Tilles.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 11:36
Four Division Avenue High School seniors have signed national letters of intent to play baseball at local universities next fall. All four players were instrumental in winning the 2014 Nassau County Championship.
Friday, 17 October 2014 08:32
The Island Trees Squirts Rockets U-6 team met with town officials, Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes at the 2014 Island Trees Soccer Club Opening Day Parade and Ceremony held at Stokes Elementary School. Pictured also with the Rockets U-6 team is President Joe Badolato, Event Coordinator Keri Cinelli, Equipment Commissioner Chris Blum, Travel Commissioner Mike Rich, Vice-President Brian Fielding and Rockets U-6 Coach Gina Weyland.