Smiling PS 282 kindergarten teacher Nicole Lopez is flanked by her principal Rashan Hoke and Z, the Sanford Harmony mascot.

In recognition of her inspiring approach in the classroom, New York City kindergarten teacher Nicole Lopez has won one of five inaugural Sanford Teacher Awards. Long Island University is a proud founding member of Sanford Education Collaborative, a network of universities committed to advancing the Sanford Education Programs, Harmony and Inspire. Long Island University is currently impacting the way more than 300,000 students learn in classrooms across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“Today, I am honored to take part in recognizing one of the outstanding educators we work with in New York City schools, Ms. Lopez, who inspires her students to strive for greatness,” said Dr. Kimberly Cline, President of Long Island University, who attended the Oct. 23rd ceremony held at PS 282 in Brooklyn. “I have had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the way Ms. Lopez engages with her students, and it is amazing to see an inclusive classroom where children work together and truly support one another.”

The Sanford Teacher Award is a half-million dollar campaign to honor the nation’s most inspiring Pre-K through 12th grade teachers.

When Lopez entered her Park Slope school, she was surprised to learn that she was the recipient of a $10,000 cash award in recognition of her meeting the key criteria that define the Sanford Teacher Award because she has showed her commitment to creating an inspirational and harmonious classroom with students of diverse backgrounds.

“It feels really, really special to be honored as a teacher,” said Lopez. She said she plans to donate her prize money to her elementary school’s programs.

“Inspiring teachers are critical for student success, shaping students’ in their formative years and guiding them to become the best versions of themselves,” said Dr. Cline. “LIU is proud to partner with change agents like Principal Hoke and Ms. Lopez to truly revolutionize the way children learn and thrive.”

On hand for the award ceremony on Oct. 23 was also Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System, which is working in partnership with LIU  to promote the Sanford Education Programs, as well as a very proud PS 282 Principal Rashan Hoke. PS 282 has been integrally involved in this endeavor with LIU since January 2017.

As one of the inaugural winners, Ms. Lopez is now eligible for the full national competition which will award a $50,000 prize to a teacher from one state.

To nominate an inspirational teacher in your life, visit bit.ly/InspireLIU.