Earlier this month, DREAM celebrated its 2023 Teachers of the Year at the annual Dream Big Institute, an all-staff celebration of the past year’s biggest wins, and a kick-off gathering to prepare for the coming school year. Read on to learn more about the 2023 honorees.
Carolyn Byrne, DREAM East Harlem Elementary School Pre-K Teacher
Elementary Teacher of the Year
Since 2016, Carolyn Byrne has a proven track record of ensuring children have the early literacy and mathematical skills to not only be successful in their lives, but also to become lifelong learners. Students in her class leave as confident, prepared, and strong four-year-olds, and the experiences she creates sculpt and impact their future learning. 89% of her students met the literacy growth goal on DREAM’s Pre-K Every Child Ready assessment, while 83% of her students met the growth goal for the Every Child Ready math assessment. Byrne is a champion of all things early education and truly believes that all kids have the potential to live out their wildest dreams.
Levar Jackson, DREAM Mott Haven Middle School Math Teacher
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Levar Jackson is described as a “teacher who creates a classroom that embodies our maxim ALL Kids Can”—where all kids are deeply engaged, have access to learning, and grapple with rigorous content. He works endlessly to ensure that students feel seen, heard, and valued. In just his first year at DREAM, Jackson led afterschool tutoring and Saturday School, helping his students achieve 30% growth on their math assessments, with 75% of his class reaching proficiency. Jackson also launched and led a black male affinity group for middle school students and served as an invaluable member of DREAM’s DEI committee. He is a powerful member of the DREAM community and shows up each day with optimism and the willingness to support whoever is in need.
Marie Connor, DREAM Charter High School AP U.S. History Teacher
High School Teacher of the Year
Marie Connor was honored as DREAM’s High School Teacher of the Year for her impact not only on her students, but on her fellow teachers, staff members, and families. A supportive and caring teacher and teammate, Connor is able to extend her reach past the classroom and into the further DREAM community, where she is often praised for work. This past year, she led DREAM Charter High School’s debate team to its first-ever tournament, and earned the strongest assessment data for AP History since the school’s founding. Connor also challenges students to be informed about the world around them. As one of her 11th grade students wrote: “My APUSH classes allow me to speak my mind, but with all the facts given. These classes give me a chance to better understand my history and the current global situations that should be noticed. My opinion feels heard in these classes and that’s why they are my proudest academic accomplishments.”