LEWISTON – The state Board of Regents announced Tuesday that Ashli Skura Dreher, a high school special-education teacher for the Lewiston-Porter Central School District, has been named the 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year.
Dreher was given a certificate of recognition by Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. She was also given the Thomas Sobol Award and the David Johnson Award, both annual gifts for recipients of the Teacher of the Year award.
Dreher, 40, has been teaching in the Lewiston-Porter district for 15 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 teaches special education in a high school classroom working with students with moderate intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.
“New York’s teachers are among the best and most professional in the nation. Still, Ashli manages to stand out,” said New York State United Teachers 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 J. 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 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 10 years to promote turnkey training and professional development for teachers and aspiring teachers.
She continues to serve as an instructor in the program teaching undergraduate courses for Ulster County Community College.