2020 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Special Education Teacher
Wisdom Lane Middle School, Levittown UFSD
Over the course of the past 16 years, Andrea Mortillaro has developed a reputation as a devoted advocate for students with special needs in Levittown. Her innovative instructional techniques and collaborative approach have made her classroom a model for other educators to follow.
Ms. Mortillaro runs an inclusive classroom in which she employs cooperative-grouping strategies to help students meet significant social, emotional and academic challenges. She crafts individualized lessons for each student based on their unique academic needs, utilizing all available strategies and resources, from whiteboards and digital video to student partnering and dictation.
Her close reading strategies have been extremely successful. That success led to an invitation to deliver a special workshop for a Long Island Language Arts Council conference. The workshop, entitled “Notice and Note: Engaging Middle School Readers,” was so well received that she was invited to present at Western Suffolk BOCES’ ELA Coordinators Network “Spotlight on Best Practices in ELA.”
Ms. Mortillaro is known for her unique ability to work with her students on developing a variety of coping skills. One of her particular success stories is a young man who came to her as a sixth grader facing significant social challenges due to his autism. With her guidance, that student is currently attending college, where he is preparing for a career in education. “I thank God every day for Ms. Mortillaro,” he said during a senior year speech. “My school years and my life would have been so different if not for her.”
“Andrea Mortillaro is an exceptional teacher who goes above and beyond to meet the needs of each and every one of her students,” wrote her award nominator. “Her warm, welcoming, comforting disposition puts everyone at ease, and she makes everyone she knows feel special. The Levittown school district is lucky to have her.”