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Where We Live: City of Tonawanda

City of Tonawanda

Colleen Andres, a high school instructor in the Tonawanda City School District, has been chosen as one of the state’s “master teachers.” The Board of Education and Superintendent James Newton honored Andres during the regular board meeting Tuesday night.

Andres, who has been teaching in Tonawanda since 2006, was selected to participate in the state’s Master Teacher program, which identifies individuals to mentor educational programs and develop future instructors. Only 105 teachers across the state were named by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office in this year’s inaugural class, including 28 in Western New York.

By participating in the program, the teachers will meet regularly at SUNY Buffalo State, lead several professional development sessions and help mentor young and incoming instructors. Each instructor will receive a $15,000 annual stipend over the course of the four-year program.

“It seems like a good opportunity,” Andres said Tuesday. “I’m really honored to be selected.”

Andres currently teaches an Advance Placement statistics course in Tonawanda. One of her in-class initiatives began this summer, when she began recording lessons and lectures on YouTube so her students can learn about the subject on an iPad, whether it’s in the classroom or at home. Students can even go back over a lesson multiple times if they need it.

“Kids can listen and learn at their own pace,” Andres said.

Andres’ Master Teacher group will focus on math, looking to determine what are the best practices and ideas to instruct the material. She said after the meeting that the program will likely feel like a second full-time job for her.

“It’s a great honor for the district,” said Newton.