At the time of her award, Dr. Natasha Cooke-Nieves became a Science/Math Instructional Specialist for the Children First Network, a New York City public school initiative designed to integrate operational and instructional support for school networks after ten years of classroom experience teaching science in Brooklyn, NY at PS/MS 282. In this role, Dr. Cooke-Nieves provided professional development and leadership for 25 schools by empowering instructors and administrators with the most effective tools to accelerate student achievement. Her academically rigorous lesson plans engaged and excited students through hands-on, inquiry-based investigations of practical and theoretical scientific concepts. She hosted an annual science fair for her network of schools and spends time off the clock to guide individual students as they prepare their entries.
A National Board Certified science teacher, Dr. Cooke- Nieves provided mentorship for many teachers, both new to the profession and veteran teachers. She consulted regularly with principals to streamline their operations, and assisted teachers with implementing innovative curriculum and good pedagogical techniques. Understanding the important role parents play in fostering academic success, she also developed a Family Science night to educate children and their parents.
Dr. Cooke-Nieves’s work is not limited to primary and secondary education. In the past she has been an adjunct professor at CUNY: Brooklyn College, where she taught elementary science education, biology and chemistry to pre-service and in-service teachers. Her favorite motto, “You learn something new every day!” is evidenced in her graduating with a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2011. Currently, she works as a Senior Specialist at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program, the first urban teacher residency program offered by a museum. In the 15 month program, a new cohort of fifteen new New York State certified Earth science teachers will enter the profession each year up from only 40 NY teachers in 2004. As a course instructor and clinical supervisor, Dr. Cooke-Nieves feels she is making her own impact in formal and informal science education at the higher education level that will strongly be felt in classrooms throughout the Big Apple for years to come.
Teachers College, Columbia University, Ed.D, 2011 Brooklyn College, City University of New York, MSEd., 2001 Vassar College, B.A., 1996
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