South Colonie teacher receives prestigious Baecher Teacher Leadership Award for work in English learner education

two women standing in front of a sign at a conferenc.
April Mlambi receives the prestigious Marie and Richard Baecher Teacher Leadership Award at the annual New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NYS TESOL) Conference in White Plains, NY.

April Mlambi, an English as a New Language (ENL) teacher at South Colonie was recently awarded the prestigious Marie and Richard Baecher Teacher Leadership Award.

The award recognizes the important contribution teacher leaders make to English learner education. Mlambi has worked in the district for nearly 20 years making an impact on ENL students while consistently applying diversity, equity, and inclusion into her everyday life as an educator and beyond.

“Needless to say, we know our district has been most fortunate to have April Mlambi as one of the most dedicated, passionate, and hard-working educators who puts her ENL students and families at the forefront each and every day, “ said Supervisor of Special Programs William Boardman.   “Having worked alongside her as both a colleague and administrator over the years, her dedication and drive has been inspiring to watch and her energy and excitement level continues to be most impressive.”

In addition to her teaching role, Mlambi has also served as the lead organizer for the district’s Multicultural Festival which takes place annually each spring. When COVID-19 impacted in-person events in 2020, Mlambi pivoted and still found a way to celebrate the diversity of the South Colonie school community through an online celebration. She serves on a variety of district committees, such as the Parent and Family Engagement Committee and the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee, and routinely hosts student teachers from local colleges and universities.  On the state level, Mlambi facilitates professional development seminars through NYSUT’s Education Learning and Trust and acts as a subject matter consultant for the New York State Education Department’s Office of Assessment.

“I was hired in South Colonie right out of my graduate program almost two decades ago and from my very first years in this district I have been afforded with many opportunities to continue to grow and develop professionally,” Mlambi said. “ I have been so fortunate to work with colleagues and administrators who have nurtured, mentored, and supported me along the way. It is tremendously gratifying to be at the point in my career where I am able to give back to the profession and to this school community that has been my home for the past twenty years.” 

“Not only has April had a profound effect on the students and families she has worked with, but her attempts to educate and collaborate with faculty and staff about the best means to work with ELLs within a classroom is certainly admirable,” Boardman added. “This award is much deserved and I remain most grateful to work with April in this role and for everything she has done to open my eyes to the increasing needs of our students and families.” 

Mlambi was recognized at the annual New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NYS TESOL) Conference last week in White Plains, NY. More information can be found here