2018 Award Winners

Patrick Burns


Patrick led the implementation of a one-to-one student;device ratio for all 1,687 students at MS 217 in Queens. He collaborated with his colleagues to bring global skills to his school community through Google Apps, placement of digital boards in all classrooms, real time standards-driven instruction, and student-authored content. MS 217 participated in the beta testing of numerous applications and has been a pilot for several iZone short cycle evalutaions. He has presented at City and national conferences, sharing the successes of his school community. Patrick is grateful to his colleagues and to his supportive wife and two daughters.

Kerwin Francis

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Kerwin is a strong believer in using technology and collaboration to elevate a school to the next level. Being housed in a campus with five other schools presented him with the opportunity to use that mindset for the benefit of the entire building. After instating a campus technology committee, Kerwin and the other SPOCs pooled their resources to successfully apply for grants, solve building-wide internet access issues, and use their collective strengths to inspire each other to better serve their individual schools.

Hailey Gray

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Ms. Gray has initiated several parent/child programs PS 156 in Queens since she started as Parent Coordinator in 2003.:These include: Martial Arts, Young Runners, Chess, African American Studies, and Scouts. Ms. Gray connects the neighborhood with the school in programs like the "Elite Millionaires' Club" at a local bank and Mandarin classes at the community library. Her latest adventure is the FACELab Parent Robotic Team, which trains parents to go into the classroom and teach LEGO EV3 and WeDo to students. Her favorite saying has always been "we have so much to offer to our little ones, be it time, love or talent let's share. EACH ONE TEACH ONE."

Melissa Jacobs


Melissa has used technology to enhance instruction and support inquiry throughout school library programs both in NYC and across the country. She founded and chaired the American Association of School Librarians Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee. This national committee recognizes 25 apps annually for the value added to inquiry-based teaching and learning. She created NYCSLIST,which remains the number one communication tool school librarians use to share best practices, information, and celebrate instruction, inquiry, and digital citizenship. She has also helped foster the makerspace movement across the NYC DOE with INNOVATION! mini-grants that bring model Makerspaces and mobile Makerspaces to school libraries. Melissa has been published by Knowledge Quest, School Library Journal, Teacher Librarian, and is a regular contributor to School Library Connection. In 2015, Melissa was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Eric Kollin

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If you walk into Eric Kollin's Computer Lab, you might mistake it for a coffee shop due to its unique design and atmosphere, as it reflects Eric’s philosophy of creating a balanced space in which students and staff can feel comfortable, creative, and productive. He has helped to introduce computers and technology to schools across the city as one of the original staff developers for NYC Project Smart. During his 30 year DOE career, he has been responsible for technology support in many roles, from Technology Teacher to District Staff Developer. He coordinated a annual middle school Comp2Kids event in which families received training and a free computer system. He worked with Teacher’s College as the PDS Technology Liaison to help teachers with inter-school technology study groups. Eric was highlighted in the SPOC Newsletter for organizing the first Bronx SPOC Meeting, and also for creating a Google tech ticketing system. Recently, he worked with the SPOC Squad on an MDM Instruction Manual used throughout the city.

Maria Landi

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After fundraising to get Chromebooks for her students last summer, Maria transformed her classroom into a blended learning space by utilizing G Suite and other web applications. This year she also developed a Technology Team at her school to spark the passion for educational technology in other teachers; providing professional development opportunities and supporting teachers as they explore this new frontier. She is excited to continue to develop and implement a school technology plan that bolsters her school's mission and ensures that both teachers and students are prepared to teach and learn in the 21st century classroom and beyond.

Richard Luong


Richard is a City Service Corps alum who served at the Queens Division of Instructional and Informational Technology as an analyst for the School Health Check initiative. Since then he has dedicated his expertise as a school tech to the maintenance and customization of school technology resources to enhance their usefulness to teachers and administrators. He continues to aid SPOCS and computer technicians and actively participates in pilot programs such as the initial System Center Configuration Manager testing phase and beta rollout of Symantec Endpoint Protection.

Paul Martuccio

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Paul Martuccio has been the Principal of PS 13 for the last 9 years and is a proud Cahn Fellow. He enjoys aggressively pursuing standards-based tasks and identifying tools that support his students and teachersto experience authentic learning. Toward this end, Paul enlisted and embraced the expertise within the Borough Field Support Center and carved out time, monthly, for teachers and their students to experiment with and create student tutorials (flipped classrooms) using the Explain Everything and Show Me apps. In addition, students and teachers worked together using Book Creator to make writing pieces come alive and See-Saw and Google Classroom to capture, share, and document the evolution of their work over the course of the school year. Paul also made sure the school had a Twitter account to brand, celebrate, and advertise the school's outstanding work, which sparked student engagement. Be sure to follow their journey @THEPubSchool13 @MartuccioPaul

Sherif Mikhail

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Over the past six years, Sherif has brought myriad technological advances to New Dorp High School, from live streaming PTA meetings and commencement to streamlining a variety of school practices. For example, replacing most paper forms with online forms. He has additionally implemented Google for Education, creating email accounts for students. This allowed for a greater collaboration throughout the school. His calm demeanor and wealth of knowledge help staff to feel more comfortable with technology and enable them to use it in their classrooms with greater ease. Furthermore, Sherif has mentored the next generation of “techies” by running the Tech Squad.

Yana Mim


Yana is a School Computer Technology Specialist who has been with the DOE since 2010. She started out as an intern while attending Brooklyn College. Upon graduation, she was hired full time at her elementary school. She helped transform her school into a 1:1 environment for grades 2-5. Yana provides IT support to all staff members while solely managing and maintaining over 1100+ devices in her building. She provides PD’s for her teachers to help acclimate them with core technological tools needed to integrate technology in the classroom. She is a vocal and active member within the #NYCSchoolsTech social groups with the goal of dispensing knowledge to new and aspiring SPOCs.

Laura Ogando


Laura began her career in the DOE as an elementary special education teacher in a 12:1:1 classroom. It was in this setting that she became an advocate for using technology to bring equity and access to all learners. She has been working in the media center for the past two years, where she has designed a curriculum that brings together digital literacy, computer science, and project-based learning. Laura is a certified Google Level 1 and 2 educator, a certified BrainPOP educator, and is an active member of the #NYCSchoolsTech community. She has regularly hosted workshops in her school for both teachers and parents.

ShayLyn Ostrow


Mrs. Ostrow has been teaching in the New York City Dept of Ed since 1999. She taught special education in grades K-5 and four years ago became the Technology Teacher and the SPOC at her school. In her Technology lab, Mrs. Ostrow teaches students in all grades how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Google Drive. She also teaches coding and a variety of other STEAM projects. She is also facilitator of the District 22 Technology Ambassador meetings, where she shares what she knows with the other technology teachers in District 22.

Bridget Ramos


Bridget Ramos, M.ED, is a strong advocate for the scholars of NYCDOE, educating them with the necessary tools to be ready for computer science and computer literacy in the 21st century. She has introduced scholars, administrators, teachers, and parents to Class Dojo to build and improve communication within her school community. This year, her school was selected to be a part of CA4ALL Cohort 1 2018. During her first official year as the Computer Science Educator, she has incorporated the following programs: coding, Scratch, littlebits (STEM), Fundamentals of Typing (school wide), Microsoft Power Point for presentations purposes (grades 3-5), and Google Classroom for upper grade scholars. Next year, she plans on incorporating Minecraft and 3D printing.

Lliana Villegas

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Ms. Villegas is an experienced teacher who enjoys learning as much as teaching. Curious by nature and a lover of combining subjects, she incorporates technology, interdisciplinary study, and real world scenarios in her pedagogy. As Instructional Technology Coach she has created an environment in which staff and students are more confident end users and are developing a positive digital footprint. She is a wizard at coaching staff and creating projects that have a balanced blend of technology and content. You can often find her engaged in some type of learning or sharing activity. She is fond of convincing colleagues to try new things and looking for her next collaborative project. If you’d like to collaborate or brainstorm ideas and need a good sounding board, feel free to reach out!

Karen Watts

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Karen Watts has been a superintendent of high schools in Brooklyn since July 2010. Prior to that, she served as NYC’s first Executive Principal of ACORN High School for Social Justice, now the Brooklyn School for Law and Technology. She was instrumental in quickly turning this school from a struggling school to one with high performance on all metrics. She became executive principal because of her ground-breaking work at Wadleigh Secondary School in Manhattan, where she spent 10 years. She was able to successfully turn around Wadleigh, removing it from the State’s list of Schools Under Registration Review turning it into a high-performing school. She was previously a chemistry and physics teacher at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, Queens.