Teacher at Grover Cleveland High School Honored with Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics

Press release and pictures are from The Fund for the City of New York.

Krishna Mahabir is described by a colleague as “…the most revered teacher I’ve ever worked with, revered by students and teachers alike,” Krishna “Maha” Mahabir has taught science for 18 years at Grover Cleveland HS in Queens. Originally from Guyana, Mr. Mahabir, a trained geologist, has fostered student interest by reviving science competitions and opening them up to the school’s large population of newly-arrived immigrants.

Krishna Mahabir: Grover Cleveland High School, Queens Physics I, Robotics, Geo Hazards

The results have been spectacular. In the NYS Science Olympiad and in the City Regional Bridge Building Competition, Grover Cleveland has consistently won against students from elite schools.

Says one student, “The competition gave me a sense that I belonged. Maha taught me how I could take on scary challenges with confidence. His class is not something we had to attend, but a place we were privileged to visit day in and day out.”

The Fund for the City of New York announced the seven recipients of the ninth annual Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. The awards recognized New York City public high school teachers who exceed expectations in the classroom to advance student success. Recipients of the award are committed to making mathematics and science comprehensible and compelling, while also achieving superb academic results.  

“This year’s winners bring excitement, rigor, innovation, and commitment into their classrooms. Their students develop confidence and a life-long love of science and mathematics,” said Mary McCormick, President of the Fund for the City of New York. “These teachers are the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night to help their students achieve success. They are revered and beloved.”

These extraordinary teachers teach students from all over the world who speak over 50 languages. In a school system with over 400 high schools, with schools sizes ranging from 400 to 4,000 students, this year’s winners are truly exemplary.  

The award winners—who were chosen from applications submitted by students, teachers, parents and administrators from schools throughout the five boroughs— were honored at a ceremony held on December 4, 2017. Each teacher was awarded a prize of $5,000 and each school will receive $2,500 to strengthen their school’s science or mathematics department.

“I congratulate these talented educators, whose passion and commitment to teaching has changed the lives of many students,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “We’re grateful for their ongoing dedication to serving students and families across New York City.”

The winners are:

  • Wendy Dunson-DelValle, Brooklyn High School of the Arts, Brooklyn
  • Jason Garofalo, Marble Hill High School for International Studies, Bronx
  • Martina Gately, James Madison High School, Brooklyn
  • Erica Guzmán, Civic Leadership Academy, Queens
  • William Lynam, Gotham Collaborative High School, Bronx
  • Krishna Mahabir, Grover Cleveland High School, Queens
  • Hyungmin Park, New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m), Manhattan

To qualify, a teacher must have taught math or science in New York City high schools for at least five years and must demonstrate excellence in teaching and in achieving results. The winners are chosen by an independent panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators. More on the award and evaluation criteria can be found at http://www.fcny.org/fcny/core/sae.


The Fund for the City of New York was established by the Ford Foundation in 1968 with the mandate to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Its Cash Flow Loan Programs lend about $80 million a year to over 300 nonprofits in no-interest bridge financing, and its Partner Project Program supports over 80 nonprofit enterprises that focus on issues ranging from problem-solving courts, to the creation of new parks, to the reduction of asthma rates in disenfranchised communities. These and other initiatives work to achieve better outcomes for New York City’s children and youth, families and communities, and the city as a whole.


The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic nonprofit institution established by Alfred P. Sloan in 1934. Its main programs involve science and technology, the standard of living and economic performance, education and careers in science and technology, selected national issues, and a civic program. The goal of a civic program is to contribute to New York City by responding to social opportunities the city presents, and by funding high-leverage programs related to its area of interest. The Sloan Public Service Awards, presented annually by the Fund for the City of New York, have been part of its civic program since 1985.

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