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Elmont Names Maria Harley September’s Teacher of the Month

By Hannah Meikle and Tochi Ukegbu

We congratulate Ms. Harley for being named Teacher of the Month for September 2016. She has been inspiring Elmont students as an English teacher for 14 years. Whether she is teaching her eighth-grade students to embrace figurative language in their writing or debating political issues with her juniors, Ms. Harley keeps the energy and standards high in her classroom.

As the facilitator of the Talented and Gifted Program, she challenges students to reach their full potential and believes each child has the ability to exceed traditional expectations. Ms. Harley’s enthusiasm is infectious and her students benefit from her desire to help them learn. Her experience with last year’s eighth-graders continues to develop with the Empowerment Project. Her lessons inspired students to take action and make a change in the world as they addressed topics such as gender equality and xenophobia. Ms. Harley and students were invited to represent Elmont Memorial at a conference at the University of Connecticut where they shared these lessons with educators around the world. These experiences have had a lasting impact on the students in her classroom. Many students stated that when they enter Ms. Harley’s room they feel transformed and “at peace.” Ms. Harley is extremely deserving of Teacher of the Month! She encourages, inspires and brings out the best in everyone!