School Safety Agent Tamara Jenkins is one of the DOE's 2018 Life Savers Award Recipients

School Safety Agent Tamara Jenkins (center left) was honored during the DOE’s first annual Life Savers Event in June. Agent Jenkins used a Heimlich maneuver to save the life of student, Layla Sharper (center right w/flowers), who was choking during lunch earlier this year.

As the 2017–18 school year came to a close, the DOE’s Tweed Courthouse played host to a range of events and festivities held in honor of some of our best and brightest students, teachers, and staff members.

From promising up-and-coming student writers, to dedicated safety agents and DOE staff members who literally saved lives, the DOE’s headquarters welcomed students, families, elected officials, dignitaries, public servants, and community partners throughout May and June 2018 in celebration of NYC public schools and the 2017–18 school year.

Robert De Niro Looks On as Nuha Dolby Reads Excerpt from Her Award-Winning Non-Fiction Story

Robert De Niro looks on as first-place prize winner, Nuha Dolby (Bronx H.S. of Science), reads an excerpt from her award-winning New York-themed story during the 2018 Jimmy and Rosemary Breslin American Writer Award event.


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Deputy Director of Facilities, Charles Forte, (left) was recognized for his service in support of student, Noah Seitz (right), during the DOE’s first-ever Life Saver Event.

In late May, the DOE held its first-ever Life Savers Event in recognition of 14 staff members and community partners who helped save lives while working in City schools this year.

Among the 14 people recognized this year was Level III School Safety Agent Latrice Smalls, who helped save the life of Michael Ammirati, the assistant principal of security at Queens Preparatory Academy. Thanks to Agent Smalls, Mr. Ammirati was able to successfully recover from a heart attack. Another was Charles Forte, who bravely stood by student, Noah Seitz, following a horrific vehicle attack in October 2017. Mr. Forte, who is the DOE’s Deputy Director of Facilities in Manhattan, looked after the young student and accompanied him to a nearby hospital; Mr. Forte stayed with Noah until his parents arrived later that afternoon.

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Here’s the complete list of 2018’s Life Savers:

  • Shawn Hainey, a teacher at the Frederick Douglass Academy in Manhattan, saved the life of student, Sayi Neufeld, who was choking during lunch;
  • Jodi Rosenberg, Vincenza Maratea, and Colleen Greeley of P.S. 32 in Staten Island, helped saved the life of a student’s grandparent, who collapsed and became unresponsive during dismissal;
  • Samantha Salvatore and Vincent Miller of P.S. 78 in Staten Island, were key in saving the life of student, Safiatou Kante, who was choking during lunch;
  • Jenly Castillo-Blances, a guidance counselor of Entrada Academy (now ACCION Academy) in the Bronx, saved the life of student, Jimmy Delgado, who was choking during lunch;
  • Charles Forte, deputy director of facilities in Manhattan, helped provide emotional support to student, Noah Seitz, following a terrorist attack in October 2017;
  • Kevin Gerard, School Safety Agent (SSA) Level III, saved the life of a student who was injured during an altercation outside of school at dismissal. SSA Gerard administered first aid and applied pressure to the wound;
  • SSA’s Beri BeltreShante Saxon-Diamond, and Michael Ramsingh, teamed up to save the life of an adult who collapsed while participating in a weekend activity at school. The SSAs had to administer CPR and use an AED;
  • Tamara Jenkins, an SSA, saved the life of student, Layla Sharper, who was choking during lunch; and
  • Latrice Smalls, SSA Level III, saved the life of Queens Preparatory Academy’s Assistant Principal Michael Ammirati, who suffered a heart attack. Smalls performed CPR and called 911.

To see footage from the event, check out ABC 7’s report!

The DOE Celebrated its Fourth Annual School Safety Agent Recognition Ceremony

The DOE’s 4th Annual School Safety Agent Recognition Ceremony honored SSAs for their exemplary service to City schools.

On June 6, the DOE held its 4th Annual School Safety Agent (SSA) Recognition Ceremony in honor of the City’s exceptional SSAs

The following 55 School Safety Agents received plaques and certificates in recognition of their incredible service to City schools:

  • Dawn Addison
  • Nicole Alo
  • Dennis Anderson
  • Simonne Banks
  • Alexandria Blanco
  • Tiffany Blenman
  • Crystal Bostic
  • Vanessa Brown
  • Winston Bruno
  • Serena Carter
  • Cynthialee Castellano
  • Labretta Cherry
  • Shondell Christian
  • Rafael Concepcion
  • Alicia Davis
  • Lateefah Dees
  • Katina Dow
  • Gary Dyer
  • Alethia Ebanks
  • John Feely
  • Marlon Fergus
  • John Fonseca
  • Kim Freytes
  • Francisco Good
  • Rosanne Hanberry
  • Dahan Hawkins
  • Francisca Jimenez
  • Latoyia Jones
  • Ashley Joseph
  • Sybil Lacey
  • Theresa Lalta
  • Rhonda Lambey
  • Eifia Leander
  • Mohamed Lemnaizi
  • Huo Juan Liu
  • Keisha Macklin
  • Nadine Massey-Sampson
  • Darren McDonald
  • Charise Nelson-Butler
  • Aurelina Obando
  • Francisca Ocampo
  • Asia Perez
  • Josephine Pratt
  • Sharod Price
  • Jon-Erik Rodriguez
  • Cathy Rosario
  • Nicole Brown-Sass
  • Marisol Sierra
  • Kemie Small
  • Regina Smith
  • Roslyn Solomon
  • Brigette Vandroff
  • Natasha Welch
  • Tywanda Woodberry
  • Robert Wright, Jr.

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Congratulations to all of this year’s SSA honorees!


Chancellor Carranza takes a photo alongside Robert De Niro (left of Carranza), Kevin Breslin (right of Carranza), James Breslin (far left), and the student writers who were honored during the first-ever Jimmy & Rosemary Breslin American Writer Award event.

Thirteen of the City’s promising student writers were celebrated at the first-ever Jimmy and Rosemary Breslin American Writer Award event on June 7.

The award, which is named after the late NYC newspaper columnist and best-selling author, Jimmy Breslin, and his late first wife, Rosemary, is the ultimate prize of a student essay writing competition that was open earlier this year to the City’s 12th graders.

To participate in the contest, students had to submit their own non-fiction, New York-centered stories in Jimmy Breslin’s sharp, witty, and iconic writing style. Out of over 200 submitted essays, the following 13 finalists were formally recognized at the June 7 award event:

First place

Nuha Dolby (Bronx High School of Science)

Second place

Prestasia Aldridge (Aviation High School)

Third place

Harper Clees-Baron (The Brooklyn Latin School)

Honorable Mentions

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We congratulate all of our student finalists!


2018’s Big Apple Award recipients waiting to be announced at the DOE’s official Big Apple Awards Reception at Tweed Courthouse on June 14, 2018.

This past spring, the DOE named 17 teachers for its sixth annual 2018 Big Apple Awards.

The Big Apple Awards recognize the incredible work of New York City’s outstanding public school educators, and on June 14, all of this year’s honorees were invited to the Tweed Courthouse to celebrate their educational achievements.

To learn more about this year’s honorees, check out our post from earlier this year, and take a look at some of our photos below from our official Big Apple Awards Reception at Tweed!

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Well, that wraps it up for all of our celebratory Tweed events! On behalf of the DOE, we congratulate all of our award recipients and honorees.

For more 2017–18 memories, keep checking out The Morning Bell all summer long!

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  1. […] like it was only just yesterday when we were celebrating the end of the 2017–18 school year and honoring our students and staff members for a job well […]