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Jessica Hladik

Columbia math teacher Jessica Hladik.

Columbia mathematics teacher Jessica Hladik has been named a New York State Master Teacher, recognizing her as one of the state’s highest performing K-12 STEM educators.

The Master Teacher Program was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013 in partnership with The State University of New York and Math for America. Mrs. Hladik will engage in professional development, attend leadership workshops and collaborate with like-minded professionals. As part of the program, she will receive a $15,000 stipend annually for the next four years.

“My goal is to continually improve as a teacher,” Mrs. Hladik said. “Everything I’ve done has led to this opportunity.”

Mrs. Hladik, who has taught at Columbia for 13 years, almost never became a teacher at all. After studying applied math in college, she was about to enter the research field. But she fell for teaching after coaching basketball and tutoring kids.

Jessica Hladik teaching

Mrs. Hladik using a smart board to teach logarithms to students in Pre-Calculus.

“I thought, ‘Hey, I really like working with teenagers and helping them with their problem solving skills,’” she recalled.

Mrs. Hladik currently teaches Intro to Algebra 1A, Algebra 2R, Pre-Calculus and Computer Programming I at Columbia. She supplements classroom lessons by bringing students to local colleges for computer programming competitions. Her students placed 3rd out of 37 high school teams at Siena College in April.

“She is a dedicated, wonderful teacher who serves as a model for other instructors,” said Principal John Sawchuk.

Mrs. Hladik is Columbia’s second teacher to be selected as a NYS Master Teacher (Diana Prout).