The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has named Grand Island High School teacher Cheryl Chamberlain Citizen of the Year - Educator 2013.
The chamber will honor her at the 48th annual Citizen of the Year Awards Thursday, April 24, at Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa.
Chamberlain has been teaching with the Grand Island Central School District since 2000 when she and her husband, Gregory, moved back to where he grew up to raise their daughters Brooke and Sarah. When they moved into their home on Stony Point Road, Chamberlain was considering going back to school and her husband said, "Why don't you substitute teach at the schools on Grand Island?" This started Chamberlain's career focus in business education.
Chamberlain earned her Associates in Applied Science in retail business management at Niagara County Community College after high school, where her professor, David Nemi, told her to go into teaching. From there, she attended Buffalo State College and earned her Bachelor of Science in business and distributive education in 1992 and Master's in Educational Computing in 2002. It was at the end of her student teaching that she and Greg decided to start a family and soon Brooke was born. During these early years, Chamberlain worked in the private sector for a car dealership, a rental car company, and the McGuire Group. Chamberlain then took some time off spending time at home as a mom, and soon Sarah came along.
Chamberlain began subbing in 2000 and when a teaching assistant position came up at Grand Island High School in the Science Department, Chamberlain went for it. Working with Claire Cieslewicz and Carolyn Manzo as her mentors, Chamberlain worked as a teaching assistant for four years until the retirement of Roberta Frisoni in the Business Department. In 2006, Chamberlain took on a permanent position as business teacher and school-to-work coordinator, where she built the DECA business club from six members in 2006 to more than 140 members today. Chamberlain continues to build programs with the assistance of her advisory board, the Grand Island School & Business Alliance and key members of the CTE department at GIHS.
Chamberlain also has been instrumental in the resurrection of the school store, renaming it Casey's Corner after another influential friend, school board trustee George Casey. The store has been successful and gives back through scholarships and funding of programs.
Chamberlain has also been an active member in the community through membership at the Niagara Sailing Club, co-president of Region 12 DECA and high school graduation coordinator. In addition, Chamberlain also coordinates most of the volunteer work for the high school for the past five years with her position as the CAS coordinator of the International Baccalaureate program and internship coordinator in her Career Exploration Program.
Chamberlain enjoys time at the gym and running as a pastime. She is proud that she has helped build a strong networking and business communications program for her students over the past 14 years and will continue to work for every student in the future.
Other Citizen of the Year Award winners include: Nonnie Carroll - Volunteer Service; Hizair Hair Salon - Business of the Year; Lynn Alan Konovitz - Professional Contributor; Teddy Linenfelser - Service to the Community.
Tickets for the Citizen of the Year Awards dinner are available at the chamber office, 2257 Grand Island Blvd., or by calling 716-773-3651.