Teacher of the Year: Mary Gelber

By Nasheed Choudhury and Olivia Wong


Ms. Mary Gelber, one of New Hyde Park Memorial’s beloved science teachers, has been named Teacher of the Year for the 2021-2022 school year. She has taught at NHP for a total of 20 years and certainly continues to make her mark on the community.


Ms. Gelber is a dynamic teacher for a variety of reasons. She has taught every single science course the building offers at some point in her career. This year, her schedule is packed, teaching three sections of AP Biology, as well as chemistry, and physics lab. Since she teaches across several grade levels, Ms. Gelber has created a unique and effective style of teaching that engages all of her students. She structures her classes to encourage discussion, ensuring everyone can understand and apply the material taught in class. She consistently shows her passion for educating at the same time as she motivates her students to learn the material. Ms. Gelber stresses the importance of understanding the lesson rather than just memorizing terms.


Sources by Anna Detke

Ms. Gelber passionately explains the mechanisms behind COVID-19 vaccines to her third period class.


“I would like to congratulate Ms. Gelber on being nominated for the 2021-22 New Hyde Park Memorial Teacher of the Year. I would also like to thank her for her never-ending dedication and effort. Ms. Gelber has the ability to make any topic an exciting topic and truly cares for every one of her students. Like she does in every aspect of her life, she gives 150% to each and every day in the classroom. She is an inspiration to us all,” said science department chairperson Mr. McLeer.


“Mary is one of the hardest working, dynamic, and effective teachers I have ever known. From tremendous enthusiasm and energy in the classroom to extra help before school and on any and all off periods, Mary has always gone way 'beyond the call of duty.' She is thoroughly deserving of the Teacher of the Year Award! Congratulations, Mary!” said Mr. Shapiro.


This year, she tackled the obstacles of remote learning with stride, utilizing Jamboard as a teaching tool for her AP Biology classes. Especially with the pandemic, she tries to incorporate larger lessons of the real world into the curriculum, like the inner workings of COVID-19 and vaccines. Through drawing diagrams and pictures on the Notes app, Ms. Gelber exhibits her aptitude by implementing new ways of learning that enable students to better follow remote lessons.


By double majoring in English and biochemistry at Boston University and graduating with a masters in biology in education from Queens College, Ms. Gelber applies her experiences in and out of the classroom. More than two decades later, her dedication to her students has never wavered and she has transformed the lives of so many.


...Like she does in every aspect of her life, she gives 150% to each and every day in the classroom. She is an inspiration to us all...

“Walt Whitman once said, ‘This is the day that I must live.’ I love this quote because every day, we teachers get our energy up, lift our spirits, and try to give our students the life that we have so enjoyed,” said Ms. Gelber.


Ms. Gelber also loves to share personal experiences with her students, whether they are pictures from her hiking trips or interesting stories from her past. It was no surprise to her ninth period class when she was crowned Teacher of the Year.


“I can’t even say I was shocked when we found out Gelber was elected as Teacher of the Year. I barely even got to see her all year yet she still managed to excite and motivate me for her class,” said senior Brandon Singh.


Congratulations Ms. Gelber!