Wantagh resident Stephen Sullivan was given the 2014 Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award for contributions made by pre-collegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American History. The award was presented by the Organization of American Historians (OAH)
Sullivan has taught for the past 27 years at Lawrence High School, and he said winning the award was an honor and a shock.
“It’s always a surprise because there are so many talented people on Long Island,” Sullivan said.
“You could not find a better candidate, just as Lawrence could not find a better teacher, scholar or leader,” Lawrence High School Principal Jennifer Lagnado said.
Prior to Lawrence, Sullivan spent four years working in Catholic schools, and he said the key to connecting with the kids is caring about them.
“I’m one of the dozen or so people in America who genuinely like teenagers,” Sullivan said. “High school kids are so much fun. They get excited about a variety of topics.”
Sullivan added that every kid is different, and he enjoys matchmaking kids with different projects. If you can find what the student’s passionate about, you’re 85 percent there, he said.
“These relationships you form with the kids often last,” Sullivan said. “They’re family.”