2019 Award Winners


The Rosemarie Franco Distinguished Service Award

This award is presented to an individual whose commitment, outstanding leadership, and inspiration have made a lasting impact on their school, and the NYCDOE.

Former Campus SPOC & IT Support person, Rosemarie Franco, started her career in 1983 at her alma mater Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx. Thirty years later she retired from the same school building, but had become responsible for supporting a campus of six schools. To better serve this large community, she was instrumental in creating a one-stop location for all technology needs, which alleviated the burden and stress on individual schools regarding equipment deliveries, installations, maintenance, repair, integration, inventories, training, product research, and testing. This one-stop shop model became one of the inspirations for the school technology Single Point of Contact (SPOC) program, which is now present in more than 80% of our schools. Rosemarie’s lifelong dedication to her campus, and her own professional development, continues to have a lasting impact on all NYCDOE students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Rudy Blanco

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In the past five years, Rudy has managed several educational technology initiatives, and has fostered multiple partnerships to connect students and schools with tech organizations like Google, The New York Videogame Critics Circle, Thrively, Here to Here, Hats and Ladders, and Mouse. Rudy has also been working on the launch of BX Start, the DreamYard Preparatory School’s new space dedicated to entrepreneurship, gaming and digital art. The new space will help young people in underserved communities explore creative careers in the tech industry. Rudy is also a former special education history and math teacher at the DreamYard, and was also the director of digital learning. During his tenure, Rudy oversaw new and innovative ventures in educational technology, brought laptop carts to every classrooms, and taught digital literacy classes.

Sebastian Braithwaite


In the past year, Sebastian realized an ambitious technology vision for The Dock Street School for STEAM Studies. He worked with local philanthropists to purchase more than 200 laptops and microprocessors, launched G-Suite for Education, and created professional development opportunities for teachers. Sebastian’s classroom blends engineering, computer programming, arts and crafts, and hands-on teamwork to bring abstract ideas to life.

Noemi Brito

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Noemi was instrumental in narrowing the digital divide among everyone at IS 528 Bea Fuller Rodgers School, including students, teachers, and parents. She worked with the school’s elected officials to successfully secure a variety of technology grants that brought the latest Apple laptops to nearly every classroom and the school’s STEM lab.

Raylene Charles

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As the school secretary for IS 68, Raylene wears many hats. She manages the main office, staff payroll, building permits, and the school’s budget, just to name a few! Recently Raylene played a key role in creating the Secretary’s Network, a Microsoft Team that has become a robust online community. Many school secretaries use the tool to get quick answers to questions about payroll, budget, purchasing, permits, and more.

Jennifer Foxe


Through a grant-funded technology program, Jenny brought robotics, coding, and digital storytelling to autistic students at P225 in Queens. The program allows the students to explore their love of computer science. Jenny also supports fellow teachers by showing them how to use and incorporate technology into their classrooms, and advocates for students and families by ensuring that the school’s website is accessible.

Vincenza Gallassio

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Vincenza was appointed superintendent of District 31 in September 2018. She has more than 32 years’ experience with the NYC Department of Education, having served as deputy superintendent, principal, AP, and teacher. Vincenza spearheaded a school technology vision that was adopted district-wide. She has worked closely with the iZone to help educators in District 31 become ISTE-certified, and has been instrumental in aligning District 31 schools to ISTE standards. Under Vincenza’s leadership, District 31 has been awarded two New York State learning technology grants. Vincenza has presented at several national EdTech conferences.

Jennifer Goldberg

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Within the Office of School Support and Supervision for the Brooklyn North High Schools Superintendency, Jennifer supports Advanced Placement for All, a DOE Equity and Excellence program. As the tech point-person, Jennifer created and launched the BK North High School Instructional Lead Technology cohort, which is comprised of ed tech leads from all 47 high schools. It is the first of of its kind in the city, and involves ed tech leads participating in full days of professional learning. Participants draft an ed tech vision for their school, learn about new technologies and best practices for training colleagues on the tools. She also manages partnerships with ed tech organizations, the Borough Office, and DIIT to ensure schools have the tools and resources they need for successful ed tech program implementation.

Anthony Golphin


Who says art and technology don’t mix? At PS 315K The School of Performing Arts, Anthony goes above and beyond to connect students, teachers, and administrators to technology. He attributes his success to his keen ability to explain complex school-based technology in the simplest terms. Anthony also stays on top of the latest advances in educational technology so teachers and students can learn in seamless, uninterrupted environments.

Amany Helal


When Amany noticed her students’ growing interest in computer science she introduced her them to the Explore Computer Science curriculum by Code.org. This led to the introduction of the AP Computer Science Principle curriculum, the first advanced computer science course offered at the Lafayette Educational Campus, where The High School of Sports Management is located. She also launched her school’s first Computer Science and Robotics Club, and regularly has her students participate in computer science events throughout the city. Amany also runs knowledge workshops for her students’ families, and she is the founder of her school’s Ed Tech committee.

Janine Knight


Janine spearheaded the creation of Framework for Learning, a standards-based approach to teaching with technology at PS 69 in Staten Island. The framework encourages students to use design and computational thinking to solve problems, and is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards. Janine also leads technology-focused professional development sessions for parents, staff, and administrators. She is an advocate for equitable access to educational technology, and participates in CS4All, the EdTech pilot program, District 31’s Empowering 21st Century Learners, and STEM Summer in the City. She holds educator certifications from Google, Common Sense Media, Apple, and Microsoft.

Kerry McGarvey


In addition to building and running successful 1:1 and STEM programs, and forming student IT teams at PS 24Q, Kerry coaches fellow educators on using technology in their classrooms. She runs hands-on professional development sessions for Apple and has helped more than 300 educators become Apple-certified teachers. Kerry regularly presents on innovative uses of Apple applications at various conferences and events throughout the city, including the NYCESPA conference and Apple After Hours. She was recently recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Mayra Negrón


Mayra is instrumental in bringing educational technology to Concourse Village Elementary School. Mayra coordinated a 1:1 iPad program, and trains school staff how to use ed tech tools, including Google for Education, Schoology, and Classroom. She leads student enrichment programs in coding and robotics, and created student tech and teacher tech teams. Mayra also assisted in the development of a new MakerSpace for her school.

Jose Perez


Jose is co-creator and facilitator of Apple After Hours, a monthly professional learning meetup that offers professional development for teachers who cannot take time off during school hours. He was also an early contributor to the Google Educator Group (GEG) meetups. Jose has spearheaded 1:1 iPad initiatives in magnet school districts across New York City, and he is a certified Google trainer and an Apple Learning Academy specialist. Jose has helped hundreds of teachers earn Apple and Google educator certifications.

Allison Persad

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Allison has spent nearly 20 years as a teacher, coach, adjunct professor, and now principal of an all-girls public school in NYC. She has been instrumental in advancing the work of STEM education for girls in grades 6-12, and has gained a global audience for her school’s work. Currently, the school offers one of the first a software engineering CTE programs in the state, and a digital media program. TYWLS Astoria is one of only a few public schools in NYS designated as an Apple Distinguished schools. In three years, Allison secured more than $1.2 million in grant funding for her school’s AP for All and CS4All initiatives, as well as a future Innovation Hub, hydroponics lab, and a film studio. She has been named “Principal of the Week for Preparing Young Women in the 21st Century” by DNA Info.

Gwynn White-Best

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Gwynn has transformed her school’s Robin Hood library media center into a space that not only supports literacy-based activities, but has become the school’s hub for creativity and innovation. In 2019, she integrated a MakerSpace into the library so that students can engage in STEAM activities. Gwynn also facilitates the Software Engineering Program Junior, which engages students and staff in high-quality, creative computer science programming. She is part of the CS4All Culturally Relevant Education (CRE) Ingenuity Team, which studies exceptional CS4All teachers and uses their best practices to develop ways to bring culturally relevant computer science lessons to New York City classrooms.

Kyra Wolfe

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Visitors to Kyra’s library at MS 88 see a bustling room filled with students engaged in independent activity and group work. Kyra teaches an elective on media literacy, which teaches students how to navigate their digital lives. They privacy, social media, coding, and news literacy. Kyra also teaches her fellow educators how to incorporating technology in their classrooms. Students also explore their own interests in the school’s MakerSpace, which is funded through a grant from Library Services, and during Morning Program, when student gamers collaborate in Minecraft worlds. Kyra is her school’s Google Admin and website administrator.


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Five years ago, a small group of educators from Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in Manhattan believed that PD could be done better. Jennifer Gunn, Walter Brown, Phil Linder, Tim Comer, Chris Purcell — and Vince Joralemon, who joined the team in year two from Frank McCourt High School — sought to create a conference that was truly for educators by educators. The EDxEDNYC (ED by ED) Conference was started to bring educators together to authentically learn from one another — not merely from outside instructors or companies. Conference sessions are hosted by working educators from around the world and cover education technology, social-emotional learning, instruction, leadership and innovation. The school-based conference event has grown by leaps and bounds each year, welcoming 1,200 attendees and presenters in 2019. In the first year, the team wondered if anyone would attend, now they have a long waiting list and keynote speakers have included Dr. Chris Emdin and Zaretta Hammond. Word of the conference spread internationally through social media — #edxednyc — truly connecting educators and building a network of collaboration and learning. EDxEDNYC isn't your usual conference. It's a fun, meaningful day where teachers are empowered to share their ideas, learn together and make lasting connections. www.edxednyc.com