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Geneva CSD teachers accepted to Master Teacher program

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 —

Two Geneva City School District teachers left for the winter holidays in even higher spirits than what might normally be expected.

Melissa Marquart and Shelley Walker, both science teachers at Geneva High School, learned just days the recess that they had been accepted into the New York State Master Teacher Program. 

The highly competitive program was launched in 2013 and celebrates high-performing STEM teachers. It’s a long and grueling application process — applicants are required to score top marks on an exam and pass a rigorous interview and presentation process.  

“I’d been waiting and waiting to hear,” said Mrs. Marquart, noting she had just given up on finding out in 2022 when she received her acceptance. “I actually started screaming,” Ms. Walker admitted.

They were encouraged to apply through conversations with coworkers Kirsten Abbott and Rachel Gillette, both of whom were previously accepted into the program and spoke highly of it. 

Both of the women gave their presentations online, which they say added an additional element of stress, but interviewers quickly put them at ease. “They were great; they were so nice,” said Mrs. Marquart, who gave a presentation on biosensors.

Ms. Walker’s presentation tied in her side passion — working as a farrier. “I’m constantly learning to improve the horse’s hoof health,” she said. She delved deep into horse physiology and presented on the impacts of uneven hoof height and what can be done to assist the horses who suffer from it. 

Acceptance is just the beginning, though — the teachers will now embark on four years of training at SUNY Geneseo, with a menu of professional development options available to them. “I love learning and I like developing curriculum, so I thought this was going to be the most amazing thing ever,” said Ms. Walker.