Teacher of the Year

2020 Winner

John Motchkavitz

Great Neck South High School



John Motchkavitz came to the Great Neck Public School District in September 2002 after spending his first 12 years teaching in a neighboring district.

Ten years ago, he developed a course and curriculum, Fire Safety Technology, which has been very popular among students. This class provides students interested in the fire service with an in-depth understanding of the many aspects of this important area and how it affects each and every one of us. Many students who have taken it have gone on to careers in various emergency service areas. This class is extremely unique and forward-thinking.

As the lead mentor and founder of Great Neck’s award-winning robotics team, Rebel Robotics, Motchkavitz has stressed safety from day one. The team was based on the foundation of safety principles. He has his team of 130 students learn CPR, AED and first aid as a requirement on a yearly basis. He also has them all understand the importance of OSHA and UL. The team has won countless awards at all levels, including being awarded the Top Safety Team three times at the World Championship of Robotics. The Safety Team also visits many community groups and schools to discuss safety, including the Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

He continually teaches all these children the importance of safety procedures in society. He brings safety protocol and procedures to many of the students, starting in elementary school.

Motchkavitz also serves on the school’s Building Safety Committee, where his experience and expertise have served the school community well in creating building safety plans. His focus on safety drives him on a daily basis and his students know that. Many of the students are inspired by his work ethic and how much he gives back to the community. Many students go on to join the local fire companies and junior fire organizations due to their connections with Motchkavitz.

Motchkavitz is a dedicated member of the Great Neck Alerts since 1985. When his fire company has its annual Open House, he also serves as the MC, educating the public about the various operations being demonstrated. He brings this passion to the students and inspires them to give back to the community. His unique role as a firefighter and educator who stresses safety suits him well.

Adapted from a nomination by Great Neck South High School Assistant Principal John Duggan

2020 Award Sponsored by:

Hannigan Law Firm PLLC

Past Award Recipients

2004 Daria M. Pascale C.V. Starr Intermediate School
2005 Warren G. Schmidt
2006 Tammy Hollenbeck
2007 Fehmida Mohammedali Al-Iman School, New York
2008 Ann Chestnut St. Mary’s School
2009 Gail Carrier Holy Ghost Lutheran School
2010 Susan L.S. Brown Germantown Central School District
2011 Daria M. Pascale C.V. Starr Intermediate School
2012 Paula Candella Westmoreland Road Elementary School
2013 Sandy Hickey Mill Road Elementary School
2014 Michele Hood Roscoe Central School
2015 Paul E. Ziring Great Neck School District
2016 Michael Revenson Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department
2017 Elisa Futia Edward J. Arthur Elementary School
2018 Joel Fisher Sherman Central Schooll