Long Islander to be Honored as NYS “Teacher of the Year”

FASNY Awards Great Neck Special Ed. Champion Paul Ziring

Fire Safety Education Award Ceremony at Nassau County Firefighters Museum on June 11


The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) has named Great Neck School District’s Paul Ziring as the recipient of FASNY’s 2015 Teacher of the Year Award. Mr. Ziring, a Mineola resident, was unanimously voted for this statewide award for his tireless dedication to fire prevention and life safety for his students and their families.

Ziring, the Special Education Outdoor Education Coordinator for the Great Neck School District will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center in Garden City on June 11thfor his ongoing efforts to educate students about fire safety.

Beginning in 1992 as a health education teacher, by 2005 Paul took the helm of Great Neck’s Special Education Outdoor Program, expanding the program to include 15 groups of special education students throughout the district, working with students K-12 and a transition group made up of older students. Paul implemented field experiences outside of the schoolroom to expose the students to a wide range of stimulating, life-skills activities and successfully help build students’ self-confidence.

Paul Ziring has made it his life’s mission to create a better life for his students, incorporating a special emphasis on fire safety and the wellbeing of these young, often vulnerable students. Inventing unique methods to effectively teach survival and other skills to severely disabled students, Paul created an effective fire-safety curriculum to provide students with the training to stay safe in the event of a fire in their home or elsewhere.

As part of the program, Paul Ziring brought his classes to the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center to learn about fire prevention and safety. Partnering with the Museum, the program was improved and expanded, developing a new curriculum to improve teaching classes for all special needs children. Paul brought onboard many collaborators to achieve this success, including local fire departments, his school’s superintendent, principal, and even the art classes.

The effectiveness of Paul’s program has been recognized by area educators who are advocating for its widespread implementation. As a result, he has presented to numerous organizations about the program he began at the Museum, including local SEPTA groups and presented it as a STEM field trip.

“Through Paul’s efforts, awareness has been raised about fire prevention in general and for students with special needs specifically, and their most effective ways to prevent and survive a fire. FASNY is very pleased to award this well-deserved honor to Paul Ziring, and we hope that his Teacher of the Year award will help spread the message of his curriculum throughout the state of New York”, said FASNY President Robert McConville.

At the 11:00 a.m. June 11th award presentation, honored participants and guests invited include: Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano; FASNY President Robert McConville; Nassau County Firefighters Museum Executive Director Alana Petrocelli; Museum Safety Instructor, Chief John Murray; FASNY Second Vice President Steven Klein; FASNY Fire Prevention & Life Safety Committee Chair Robert Sutton; Great Neck Public Schools Superintendent Tom Dolan; Great Neck Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz and other educators, special education advocates, elected officials, firefighters, friends and supporters.



Founded in 1872, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) represents the interests of the more than 92,000 volunteer firefighters and first responders in New York State. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.