2015 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Barbara Riess

Barbara Riess

Academy Coordinator/Physics Teacher
Baldwin Senior High School, Baldwin UFSD

In her role as Academy Coordinator and previously as Science Chairperson, Barbara Riess has established a cost-effective method of delivering the New York State curriculum in the Baldwin School District. She has helped to ensure that the district provides a rigorous academic program to students at every performance level. Her efforts to connect the curriculum to real-world experiences in both industry and higher education have made learning more engaging and relevant to students. Ms. Riess has acquired resources to enhance educational opportunities in Baldwin schools in an effort to better prepare students for college and careers.

The greatest example of her work is the development and implementation of the Baldwin Career Academy program, which serves as a model to other schools in the region and has attracted the attention of the New York State STEM Learning Network, as well as the National STEM X organization. It is the only grade 9-12 career academy program in the region. Students have the option of pursuing career paths in Medicine and Health Sciences, STEM/Engineering, Global Business and Entrepreneurship or Government and Law.

Ms. Riess had to overcome numerous obstacles to see the academy fully realized including initial opposition, budget challenges and changes in the state standards. She was persistent, however, advocating for the program with district leaders, the local business community and the Long Island Regional Planning Committee. The academy program has continued to evolve and expand, and continues to provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience, to network with leaders in their chosen field, and to work alongside business professionals.

"Barbara Riess is a devoted advocate and an outstanding spokesperson for effective teaching," wrote her award nominator. "She always fights for what is best for Baldwin students. It is through her passion, intelligence and tireless commitment that the Baldwin Career Academy came to fruition."