Educator Profile    Educators

Heather O'Leary (NY '10)

ENL Teacher

Paige Elementary School
Schenectady, NY

Subject(s) taught: English as a New Language
Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

At the time of the Award, Heather O'Leary was:

ESL Teacher
Van Corlaer Elementary School
Schenectady, NY

Subject(s) taught: English as a Second Language
Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Biographical Information

Heather O’Leary’s teaching speaks volumes about her character and commitment to her students. As an English Language Learners (ELL) instructor at Van Corlaer Elementary, she never stops striving to develop her students’ English skills, so that they can become successful in their mainstream classrooms in the fastest, most effective way possible. Going above and beyond for her students is just part of the job for O’Leary.

Making sure students have as many opportunities as possible to learn English and socialization skills is her top priority. O’Leary regularly organizes field trips to museums and picnics for students and their parents at her own expense. She has been known to drive scholarship applications to students’ homes if parents can’t pick them up, and hosts family support events for both students and parents to acclimate them to the process of test-taking and evaluation. Her efforts paid off when two of her students last year received Exxon Mobil Summer Science Camp scholarships, and seven others were awarded scholarships to attend the Albany Institute of History and Arts.

Each year Van Corlaer achieves Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in ELL math and English/Language arts due to O’Leary’s holistic approach to teaching. Last year, the school was ranked first in English Language Acquisition (ELA) and math out of 15 schools in the district. O’Leary serves on the district task force, the school’s improvement committee and participates in Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (BETAC) professional development programs.

Related Connections

Milestone: Heather O'Leary (NY '10) Receives Bertha E. Brimmer Medal of Excellence

Heather O'Leary In The News

NYSUT members win $25,000 awards for excellence in teaching  |  New York State United Teachers  |  Oct 07, 2010  |  Latham, NY

Schenectady teacher receives $25,000 award  |  New York State United Teachers  |  Oct 05, 2010  |  Latham, NY

Additional Information


2012 University at Albany Bertha E. Brimmer Medal of Excellence


1999 M.S. Reading, University at Albany

1993 M.Ed. Social Science Education, University of Georgia

1989 B.A. Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Teaching Global Literature in Elementary Classrooms:A Critical Literacy and Teacher Inquiry Approach

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