Harvard Club Honors Renée Locker

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Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School School science teacher Renee Locker has been named a Distinguished Teacher of 2020 by the Harvard Club of Long Island.
“This award honors middle and high school teachers who have profoundly influenced their students’ lives,” said Dr. Judith Esterquest, chair of the Distinguished Teacher Selection Committee. “Dedicated teachers like Ms. Locker inspire Long Island students to excel, to become passionate about learning, and to recognize the value of hard work. These teachers devote countless hours to creating better futures for our children.” Ms. Locker will be honored at the Harvard Club of Long Island’s annual University Relations Luncheon later in the year, along with 11 other teachers from across Long Island.
Ms. Locker, who serves as the science chairperson of Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School and coordinates the high school science department and the science research program, has taught in the district for 10 of her 32-year teaching career. Under her leadership, the school’s science research program has progressed from launch to a lauded presence in the scientific community: Copiague is the first of eight schools in the Town of Babylon to produce a Siemens semifinalist, and consistently achieves the highest honors at the Babylon Covanta Science Fair, Long Island Science Congress, Molloy College Science Fair, and comparable awards at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair.
After earning her bachelor of science degree in chemistry from SUNY Old Westbury and her masters degree from New York Institute of Technology in educational technology, Ms. Locker received a leadership degree from LIU Post. She also holds NYS School District Administrator (SDA) and School Building Administrator (SBA) certificates. 
“She opened an array of doors for me and my future,” said Abigail Romero, freshman at Harvard University and Copiague alumna who nominated Ms. Locker for this award. “Although no longer pursuing science, I remain heavily invested in pursuing research, a love first cultivated in Ms. Locker’s classroom. The hundreds of hours we spent together, in-school, after school, and at science competitions, showed me her robust and indomitable nature.”
“She taught me the patience to craft emails, the courtesy of sending out thank-you’s, the magic that can occur when you ask for help,” Ms. Romero said. “Most importantly, she taught me that nothing is truly impossible if you are willing to put in the time and effort to make it come true.”
Copiague Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Bannon said, “Renée is well-respected and always willing to assist her students and colleagues. As chairperson of her department, she has grown our science department into an award-winning program, nurtured our young scientists into achieving their full potential, and inspired her fellow staff members. She is truly a distinguished educator, and deserves this honor.”
At the ceremony, the Harvard Club of Long Island will announce the Distinguished Teacher of 2020 who will also receive a scholarship for a “Harvard experience” at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This year’s dozen Distinguished Teacher Award winners were nominated by current Harvard undergraduates and then selected by Harvard Club of Long Island board members. 
Ms. Locker is the second Copiague educator to win this award. In 2010, Copiague science teacher Dr. John Young was named a Fellow of the Harvard Club of Long Island and spent his Harvard experience developing curriculum for a high school astronomy course.