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Chemistry educator awarded New York State Teacher of the Year

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The New York Board of Regents announced Tuesday that the state’s Teacher of the Year award went to a chemistry educator from Harlem.

Billy Green, 42, who teaches chemistry at A. Phillip Randolph Campus High School in West Harlem, has emerged as New York’s Teacher of the Year.

He is starting his 20th year of teaching in New York City, according to the state teachers union.

He taught science at the East River Academy at Rikers Island, then became the science department chair and instructional coach at Frederick Douglass Academy III High School in the South Bronx before moving on to A. Phillip Randolph.

Green was also a finalist for the award in 2018.

The award is the state’s highest honor for educators, and also means that the state will nominate Green for a national teacher award. Four other teachers from across the state were named as finalists.

Teaching in Harlem, where he grew up, Green feels that his community “gets to see an example of, when you work hard, you stay in a community, you do for your community, the power and privilege and the award comes back to your community,” he said in his Albany acceptance speech.

Green is known for bringing “an imaginative approach” to teaching by connecting the arts with science and math, state teachers union officials said. He created elective courses such as “Hip Hop and Science Education” and “Sociocultural Perspectives of Science Education through Arts Practices.”

“Learning to work alongside our students, include their perspectives in our practices and generally see them as knowledgeable partners and contributing factors to our profession — they are not the client,” Green said of his approach in his acceptance speech. “Our goal as teachers is to always make sure our students are seen, heard and cared for.”

Schools Chancellor David Banks congratulated Green on the honor.

“It’s my hope that teachers across the city can look to Billy for inspiration in their work this school year and beyond,” Banks said in a statement.

The last time the state offered the top award to a city teacher was the same year Green was a finalist, in 2018, to Alhassan Susso, a Bronx social studies teacher, who works with immigrant students.

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