Liverpool Central School District recently announced one of its teachers has been names the state Teacher of the Year for 2011.
Jeff Peneston, an earth science teacher in the Liverpool High School Annex, has worked as an earth science teacher in the district for 24 years, said Superintendent of Schools Richard Johns.
In 2000, Peneston co-created the Annex Expedition Earth Science program, which allows students to explore earth science processes by conducting the work of scientists at field locations throughout New York. Exploration includes shipboard research at Seneca Lake, field camp expeditions at Camp Talooli and white water rafting in the Black River.
He also helped secure a grant from the NEC Corporation as part of a national search for the perfect science classroom in 2004. Funds from the grant were used to purchase scientific equipment for the annex such as a digital field microscope and underwater video equipment.
During the 2008-09 school year, Peneston was selecter as a PolarTREC teacher and spent six weeks aboard the icebreaker Oden as it headed for Antarctica. During the expedition, he assisted a team of international researchers as they studied the oceanography and biogeochemistry of the region.
Throughout his trip, Peneston communicated with students from across the country by writing journal entries and posting videos of his adventures on the PolarTREC website. He also answered questions students posted on the site's message board and participated in live webinars with the researchers.
In April, Peneston was honored by the Technology Alliance of Central New York as one of its Outstanding Teachers for 2009-10 for his exemplary personal and professional contributions to the advancement of technology education.
In addition to his work as a science teacher, Peneston has been the summer program director and natural history education director at Camp Talooli for the last 25 years. He has had leadership roles for the American Camp Association, chorus and drama organization, marching band and color guard booster groups and science fairs.