Maria Panzetta, who has taught high school mathematics at MACS for five years, learned earlier this month that she will be part of the program and join the more than 1,600 master teachers around the state. The group is noted as a professional network of public school teachers with a passion for inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders.
“I felt honored to be accepted,” Panzetta said. “The rigorous application process was an exciting challenge for me, and now I look forward to the opportunities for more personal educational development, as well as to working with teachers across New York State.”
Panzetta said that Mexico High School Assistant Principal Christina Scales, who has been through the program herself, was a driving force behind applying.
“As a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to improve my lessons,” Panzetta said. “With the connections and professional development the Master Teacher Program offers, I should be able to build more critical thinking and problem solving skills in my students, and to help them find and use the math that surrounds them daily.”
Panzetta attended Liverpool High School and graduated in 2014 before earning bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and childhood education with special education at SUNY Geneseo. In 2020, she was awarded her master’s degree in education with a specialization in mathematics from SUNY Oswego.
She taught algebra at the high school for two years and is now in her third year teaching common core and fundamental geometry.
According to SUNY, master 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.
"Great teachers can change lives and guide students towards success,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah Stanley. “For nearly a decade, New York's Master Teacher program has done just that and has recognized the critical contribution of New York State educators in setting students on that path toward rewarding careers in STEM.”
Panzetta thanked her family for being so supportive, noting she has always wanted to be a teacher since before she started school with major role models in her life. Her mother had a long career in music education, and her grandmother taught young children in an innovative elementary program.