Auburn educator accepted into New York State Master Teachers program

An Auburn High School math teacher was the only Cayuga County-area educator to be accepted into the New York State Master Teachers program this year.

Kelley Horbal was one of the 221 people newly accepted into the master teacher program, run by the State University of New York system. A news release from the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul last week said the recently chosen teachers “are dedicated professionals who teach science, technology, computer science, robotics, coding, engineering, math, and integrated STEM courses across grades K-12 including Advanced Placement, Honors, and Regents levels.” Multiple teachers from Cayuga County-area school districts have been chosen for the program in previous years.

Horbal, who was a math teacher in the Southern Cayuga Central School District from 2011 to 2014 and has been teaching at AHS since 2014, told The Citizen Thursday she was thrilled to be accepted into the program and to continue to learn about teaching. She initially applied for the program around six years ago, once she had the minimum five years of teaching experience required to get in.

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She was not accepted then or when she tried again about a year later. Now in a master teaching fellowship in a partnership between the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and the University of Rochester, she said, Horbal was reluctant to apply for the state master teacher program a third time but was convinced by a colleague to try again and applied. in late June.

While wrapping presents for her children in the basement of her Auburn home Dec. 23, Horbal received an email telling her she made it into the program. She said she feels she has more experience now than she did a few years ago and she is honored to be recognized as a state master teacher.

“It’s just exciting to realize that even though I applied twice before and didn’t get in, the continued work that I do on myself as a teacher is making progress,” she said. “I like to continuously learn and do what’s best for my students. Getting into the program opens so many more doors of opportunity that it was just really an overall exciting moment.”

As a part of their four-year participation in the program, master teachers receive a $15,000 annual stipend and will “engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities throughout the academic year,” along with other aspects of the program, the the governor’s office said.

Horbal, who is also the girls varsity softball coach for AHS, said she is excited to work with other master teachers in the state and to “continue to grow my knowledge and understanding of teaching.”

Through her time with the teaching fellowship under the Noyce scholarship, which is set to wrap up for her in June 2023, and over a decade of teaching, Horbal feels she has a better grasp on how students learn and looks forward to keep applying her knowledge. in different ways over time.

“I just have learned so much more about students and how they learn and how content is actually received. Just because it was, quote-unquote, ‘taught in the class’ doesn’t mean that students are learning it. So I feel like our students, with time, just like anything, students change, people change, best practices change,” she said. “So I have been able to really learn so much about how I learned as a student and how these students today are learning and how they continue to learn. I do something different every single year and something different every single class.”

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


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