Celeste McKinstry, Mount Sinai Elementary School, Named Dowling College/News 12 Educator of the Month
Celeste McKinstry, a kindergarten teacher at Mount Sinai Elementary, has been named a 2005/2006 Dowling College/News 12 Long Island Educator of the Month. Nominations were accepted from schools throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, and a committee of distinguished educators selected the winners.
In 1970, Mrs. McKinstry began her teaching career at Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Plainview, NY, and four years later found herself at Mount Sinai Elementary School, where she would spend the next 30 years educating first grade and kindergarten students. Today, Mrs. McKinstry is noted for her leadership and willingness to engage her students in meaningful projects. At the kindergarten level, Mrs. McKinstry integrates innovative projects to enhance the curriculum, including a Soap for Hope Project, where her students produced pumpkin soaps to raise money for the less fortunate, a Kid's Cookbook from Kindergarten Class, featuring classic recipes from her students, and a Kindergarten Yearbook, featuring monthly highlights and special memories from class. She is credited for organizing the school's annual Homecoming Parade and is affectionately called "Homecoming Queen" by the school-wide community. Mrs. McKinstry has volunteered in fundraising efforts to support the creation of an "Outdoor Classroom" and a new playground.
"In listening to Mrs. McKinstry read a story to her students, her extraordinary energy and caring was clearly apparent. The respect she has garnered from her students and colleagues speaks volumes for her accomplishments," commented Dr. Clyde Payne, Dean of Dowling's School of Education upon presenting the award.
In his letter of nomination, Dr. John Gentilcore, Principal of Mt. Sinai Elementary School, wrote, "When I sat down to write this letter, I reflected on the right words to express what Celeste's dedicated service has meant to the school district. Time and time again, when speaking to colleagues, parents and former students, the recurring theme was that 'she is always there for the children, parents and staff.'"
Mrs. McKinstry's letter of nomination was accompanied by several unsolicited letters from parents, describing their child's teacher as "insightful, inspirational, and an asset to the district." Mrs. McKinstry has acted as a mentor for seven new kindergarten teachers and is referred to as "caring, creative and extraordinary" by her colleagues.
For twenty-five years, Mrs. McKinstry has been a member of the Mount Sinai Teacher Association Executive Board. In 2000 and 2003, she received the Mount Sinai Fire Department Participation Award. Mrs. McKinstry earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from C.W. Post and a Master of Arts from Stony Brook University.
A special feature announcing Mrs. McKinstry's award will soon air on News 12. In June the award winners and their guests will be honored at a special dinner.
About Dowling College
Dowling College is an independent, coeducational college that serves more than 6,500 students at
its historic Rudolph Campus on the banks of the Connetquot River in Oakdale, NY, and the 105-acre
Brookhaven Campus in eastern Long Island and a business center located near the Nassau-Suffolk
border in Melville. Dowling offers Bachelor′s, Master′s, and Doctoral degrees in several
disciplines through its four schools: Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Education.