Spotlight on our Teacher of the Year Candidates

Birchwood Principal Anthony Ciccarelli (left), and Assistant Principal Thomas Keogh (right) congratulate their Teacher of the Year, Mr. Stephen Corbellini.
Birchwood Principal Anthony Ciccarelli (left), and Assistant Principal Thomas Keogh (right) congratulate their Teacher of the Year, Mr. Stephen Corbellini.

Have you ever heard of the Corbellini Effect? It’s an educational term which means that a student gains confidence in his or her ability to achieve and, consequently, works harder to do so. I never learned about the Corbellini Effect in undergraduate or graduate education classes. I learned it from parents and teachers at Birchwood Intermediate School when they described the “magic” of Stephen Corbellini, Birchwood’s nominee for New York State Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Corbellini is a man of many talents. He began teaching in South Huntington in 1999 as a Music Teacher, then as a Home and Careers Teacher and, finally, as a Third Grade Teacher. Principal Ciccarelli describes Stephen “… as an educator with high expectations for all students, particularly those who may not have them for themselves…(his) love is expressed in the many hours he spends planning and preparing to make all his lessons accessible to each and every one of his students…”

One colleague stated. “…Mr. Corbellini is a wonderful example of what the Teacher of the Year should stand for. He is professional, creative, a continual learner, a team player, a master of various teaching strategies...he has always been the epitome of professionalism…”

A parent related, “When I was told that he won this year’s Birchwood Teacher of the Year all that I could think of was, ‘Wow! They got that right!’ Our family has had three of our four children in Mr. Corbellini’s third-grade class spanning eleven years. It’s been as enriching, positive and academic this year as it was the first time we were together many years ago…”

A former student provided this testimonial, “…I had Mr. Corbellini for third grade back in 2009-’10; even nine years later I still have many memories of that class…I can remember the first day of third grade walking into a school all nervous and being the youngest in a huge school, but Mr. Corbellini made me feel welcome and not afraid…Mr. Corbellini also made reading fun for the entire class…we read three of four books… we would follow along as Mr. Corbellini sat on his stool in the front of the class and read to us. Usually, I get bored sitting in class and having someone read to me. However, Mr. Corbellini made the books interesting using many different voices and changing the tone of his voice often to keep us having fun and engaged…”

Those in the State Education Department will soon learn of the Corbellini Effect as Mr. Corbellini is representing the South Huntington Union Free School District as its Teacher of the Year.