Islip High School science teacher Wayne Mennecke was recognized earlier this month as a Teacher of Excellence.

An awards ceremony was hosted by state Senator Phil Boyle at Bay Shore Fire Department.

Aside from his work as a teacher, Mennecke is an ardent environmentalist, published poet and active member of the Islip community, according to the district.

“Mennecke is held in high regard by his students, peers, administration and the community,” said Islip Superintendent Susan Schnebel. “The work that he does, both in the classroom and in the community, exemplifies his commitment to the students and the environment. He is truly deserving of this recognition.”

Over the course of a 20-year career, Mennecke has taught Regents chemistry, marine biology, AP biology, living environment, and anatomy and physiology.

He’s also been an adviser to the school’s Keep Islip Clean environmental club for several years.

“It is an honor to receive this award from Senator Boyle,” Mennecke said. “I am fortunate to work with so many amazing, dedicated teachers and faculty members at Islip High School. It is a pleasure to come to Islip every day, where I not only teach biology to my students, but learn from them as well.

“Through the KIC Club and community organizations like Seatuck, students become global citizens while acting locally on behalf of the environment,” he continued. “I thank everyone, especially my awesome wife, Suzanne, and my daughter Katerina.”

Sixteen outstanding educators and school professions were honored by Boyle in Bay Shore.

These are people “who have dedicated their lives to teaching and helping their students learn, thrive, and reach their fullest potential,” he said. “Our school communities are so very fortunate to have such passionate educators.”

According to the district, Mennecke spends every other summer in the badlands of North Dakota and Montana, hunting for dinosaur fossils with the Marmarth Research Foundation, a group of paleontologists that works closely with teachers and students in their educational field program.

His poetry has appeared in “Hanging Loose,” “Avocet,” “Long Island Quarterly” and the environmental anthology “Fracture: Essays, Poems and Stories on Fracking in America.”

His first book of poetry, “Pencils Down,” was published in January 2017.

Photo: State Senator Phil Boyle with Wayne Mennecke at the May 4 Teacher of Excellence Awards ceremony in Bay Shore. (courtesy photo)

Source: Islip School District