Educator of the Month Commack’s Phillip Cicione
Commack High School English teacher Phillip Cicione was named a 2011-12 Dowling College/News 12 Educator of the Month in a ceremony that took place in his classroom before administrators and his students. Dr. Clyde Paine, Dean, School of Education, Dowling College, another natural in a classroom, spoke to the assemblage about the qualities that led to Mr. Cicione’s selection as a premier educator on Long Island.
Dr. Payne described Mr. Cicione as a “teacher of teachers” and a powerful, intellectual force in the English Department at the high school. Mr Cicione’s varied teaching methods allow for student choice and challenge, while holding students to a high level of participation and performance. Students learn the art of effective listening and critical thinking when tackling literary selections under his prompting for insight into the deeper meaning of the texts.
The International Baccalaureate students in attendance planned a surprise of their own. Before entering the classroom, T-shirts with a photo of Mr. Cicione in a chef’s hat and waving a spatula were donned, then hidden under sweatshirts or backpacks for a grand unveiling. After Dr. Payne finished speaking, the class stood en mass and applauded their teacher and mentor. The somewhat formal ceremony then took on a light-hearted feel as all enjoyed a good laugh and posed for pictures.
High School Principal Catherine Nolan reflected that Mr. Cicione “is not only expert in matters of the mind, but also in matters of the heart. His bottomless compassion and commitment to students, his strong ethics, and his active pursuit of excellence and learning makes Phil a driving positive influence in our Commack community.”
“This has been a truly unexpected honor,” said Educator of the Month Phillip Cicione. “It is one thing to believe that you are doing a good job, it is another to realize that others feel that you are too. I cannot put words to the way I feel. I am humbled.”
Photo and story by Brenda Lentsch: Mr. Cicione’s IB English students added their own tribute the their teacher when they revealed their “Cicione T-shirts.” (click on photo to enlarge)