GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Heatly secondary science teacher Jenny Starr has been named a 2022 New York State Master Teacher. The achievement is part of the New York State Master Teacher Program (NYSMTP)—a professional coalition of public-school teachers created in 2013.

Mrs. Starr is one of 221 educators to be selected to join this experienced network of teaching professionals, bringing the total number of New York State Master Teachers to over 1,600.

“I am thrilled to be selected as an NYS Master Teacher,” said Mrs. Starr. “As one of only two science teachers in my school district, I am always looking for ways to collaborate and network with other science teachers and the Master Teacher Program will allow me to do just that.”

Mrs. Starr has been a secondary science teacher at Heatly for 23 years and has been an active member of the school community, both inside and outside of the classroom. District officials say she’s passionate about helping her students succeed, whether it be teaching a full class or tutoring one student.

“I love ‘watching the lights go off’ when students understand and grasp difficult concepts. I love seeing them smile each day and motivating them to achieve their goals,” Mrs. Starr exclaimed.

When it comes to STEM education, Mrs. Starr believes all students should have equal access to the curriculum, regardless of race, sex, gender, ability, or socio-economic status. “I strive to increase all students’ curiosity in science,” Mrs. Starr said.

Over the years, she has achieved this by adding several science electives at Heatly, including forensics and a “College in the High School” forensics chemistry course through SUNY Albany. Mrs. Starr plans on expanding STEM electives for Heatly students by introducing robotics and coding courses in the future.

“As a staff member, Mrs. Starr is supportive of her colleagues and is one of the first to lend a helping hand,” a spokesperson for Heatly said in an emailed statement. “She enjoys being a new teacher mentor and assisting new staff members as they get to know Heatly and assimilate. She’s also a member of the School Impact Team, tasked with moving the district forward and identifying areas for growth.”

Mrs. Starr has been the president of the Green Island Teachers Association for years. This is one of the most important leadership roles in the district, officials said, because she serves as a liaison between teachers and administrators.

“The district is incredibly proud of Mrs. Starr’s accomplishment of being named a 2022 Master Teacher,” said Superintendent Kimberly Ross. “Throughout her 23 years serving the students of Green Island UFSD, Jenny has provided exemplary lessons and leadership to her colleagues and learners. We are all excited to see how her professional journey will continue to impact the Heatly school community.”