Position: Third Grade Teacher
School: Brooklyn New School - PS 146
School District: New York City Department of Education - District 15
City, State: Brooklyn, New York
About the Nominee: Steve Wilson was nominated by his principal, Anna Allanbrook. Mr. Wilson has taught at Brooklyn New School for 25 years. During that time, his nominator, Ms. Allanbrook, has been both his colleague at the grade level and his principal. She was a third and fourth grade teacher in a classroom down the hall from Mr. Wilson's. They planned their social studies, science, math and literacy lessons together. He was an inspirational and motivating colleague, according to Ms. Allanbrook. When she became principal of the school, Mr. Wilson continued to be a force of power, both with his fellow teachers and his students.
Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Wilson was an artist, working both as a ceramicist and a printmaker. He brings a creative mind and heart to all of his practice. His joy of discovery is contagious, and his stamina and patience are never ending. His firm belief in the potential of each and every one of his students is inspiring, and he maintains an ethic of excellence for all of his students, as well as his colleagues.
Mr. Wilson has a way of quietly demanding that students do their best work. In his classroom, they become writers, researchers, scientists, analysts, poets, observers, thinkers and passionate citizens.
For others, summer is for going to the beach and relaxing, but for Mr. Wilson, summer is a time of renewal and wonder. Every year, the third grade team joins him as they gather to imagine the possibilities for another group of eight year olds. This meeting is the culmination of thinking that begins in the spring, when teachers participate in two full days of June planning. Mr. Wilson and his colleagues reflect on their practice, looking back through documentation to discuss what’s gone well and what improvements can be made. He may also take off for a water adventure, journey afar or hike through New England. Upon his return, he always shares some inspiration found in a small moment of discovery.
Mr. Wilson is a gatherer of curriculum, plans, and student work. His eye for detail and his knowledge of what has been taught - and what should be taught - is a constant. As someone who is always learning himself, Mr. Wilson is frequently updating curriculum and coming up with new ways to teach. Before embarking on a printmaking study with his third graders, he spent a week at a camp called Haystack to remind himself of a skill he once knew well and learn new methods of execution. Only then was he ready to introduce this art to his students. Keep in mind that Mr. Wilson is not an art teacher. He is a third grade teacher who uses printmaking as a way of supporting acquisition of literacy skills.
When asked to reflect on the Danielson rubric, Mr. Wilson, the master teacher, spoke about what he still needed to learn. Despite 25 years of teaching, he brings a sense of discovery to all of his work, and exhibits a thirst for changing his practice in response to both the students and recent research.
Mr. Wilson's passion for teaching and learning influences everyone in the Brooklyn New School community. Whether one is an eight year old or a forty-eight year old, one wants to join Steve on his quests, whatever they may be. In the past, he has taken 100 students to Washington D.C. to see terracotta warriors, and he has led the staff on an annual excursion to see horseshoe crabs mating at the local Plumb Beach.
Mr. Wilson is the consummate teacher because he is the ultimate learner. He is not someone who knows the best way, but rather, he is someone who discovers the right way. He is a LifeChanger for his students!