2023 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Dr. J. Bret Bennington
Hofstra University Professor and Chair
Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability
Dr. J. Bret Bennington is a gifted educator, researcher and scientist who has made tremendous contributions to Long Island school districts throughout the years. He has a long history of service to public education in Nassau County, having helped to secure more than $6.2 million in grant funds for partnerships with local districts. He served as principal investigator on the $1.6 million on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Design and Development grant to explore ways to integrate coding with biology education, co-authored a $1.5 million New York State Regional Economic Development Grant to help fund summer research for high school students, and was co-principal investigator on a million-dollar NSF Robert Noyce Scholarship Program Phase II Grant to encourage students to become science and math teachers in high need districts.
Dr. Bennington is a member of a numerous professional societies and serves as a scientific expert for major media outlets. He has conducted more than a hundred national and local workshops, lectures and presentations on a wide variety of topics and is a frequent guest speaker in classrooms around Long Island.
Dr. Bennington advises and teaches in the annual Green Tree Foundation Teachers Ecology Workshop on the natural history of Long Island, helping more than 300 elementary and secondary teachers to develop lesson plans and strategies for outdoor education. He regularly serves as a judge for the annual South Asian American Women’s Association High School Science Fair and has contributed to many professional publications including research papers and abstracts, books, laboratory manuals and guidebooks.
Dr. Bennington has earned a number of honors and awards, including the National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ Neil Miner Award for exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences. He was named a Commonwealth Fellow by the Virginia State Council of Higher Education and was elected to Hofstra University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. He holds a doctorate in Geology from Virginia Tech, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and geology from the University of Rochester.