Congratulations to the Following Teachers!

  • SANDY ANDREWS

    Reading Aide
    Sandshore School

    Ms. Sandy Andrews is one of the NJEA’s ESP’s of the Year recipients.

    Ms. Andrews is the one and only aide to the Sandshore Reading Specialist.  She is an important part of the literacy culture at Sandshore.  She supports the literacy education of students that need a little extra support with small group instruction to ensure success. Ms. Andrews takes students one on one and in small groups to support their specific needs and build their confidence in the classroom.  She is friendly and kind to all!  During this past year, she took her students in person and virtually based on where the student was each day which is difficult to keep up with.  The consistency of her efforts makes a huge impact on student growth.  She assists not only the reading specialist, but she supports the teachers as well with open and specific communication about each student.  She has excellent communication skills which is truly needed when dealing with several teachers in different grades.  Sandshore staff and students are lucky to have Ms. Andews, she truly ROCKS!

    Ms. Andrews has gone above and beyond with her specific data on each student to ensure that each child is growing at their own pace.   She communicates with teachers and the reading specialist to make sure each child is growing and is in the correct program for their needs.  She truly helps the students that need a little extra which is not always easy in a full classroom.  She also learned technology to assist students both in school and at home.

    Sandy assists with bus duty, hall monitors and also is a sub when there are no subs.  Teachers love when she subs because the students at Sandshore love her!

  • CONNIE FRANCAVILLA

    Teacher’s Aide
    Lincoln Park Middle School

    Mrs. Connie Francavilla is one of the NJEA’s ESP’s of the Year recipients.

    Mrs. Francavilla has been an outstanding teacher’s aide in the Lincoln Park School District for over twenty-six years. In this position, she has consistently served the students of Lincoln Park with respect, care, and patience. While assisting in both special education and regular education classes, Mrs. Francavilla has developed a wonderful rapport with the students. She is always willing to go above and beyond her responsibilities to ensure that students have what they need to be successful in class. Mrs. Francavilla is able to modify classroom lessons to meet the individual needs of students and assist those who are struggling. She is always organized, efficient, and flexible. In addition, Mrs. Francavilla has been an active member of several school committees and is a valued colleague.

  • LAURETTE BARSTOW

    8th Grade Math Teacher
    East Hanover Middle School

    Ms. Laurette Barstow is a consummate professional and a truly dedicated educator.  Her commitment to personal excellence has transformed mathematics education in her district and has resulted in a marked increase in student enrollment in Honors and Advanced Math courses.  Ms. Barstow is exceedingly kind and serves as a role model to students and staff members.  Her knowledge of curriculum is extensive, and her lessons are meticulously planned and delivered.

    Ms. Barstow assists in curriculum development, meets with students both before and after school, and also teaches mathematics at the college level.  She brings these skills to bear in the classroom, thus providing her students with advanced problem solving skills.

    Ms. Barstow has served as a mentor teacher to our novice mathematics instructors and provides enrichment programming to her students.  She provides extra help to all students and has been instrumental in mathematics scheduling revisions for the upcoming school year.

  • YOHANNY MCSWENNEY

    Spanish Teacher
    East Orange STEM Academy

    Mrs. McSwenney instills confidence in her students. She believes that everyone can and should speak more than one language. She has high expectations for her students and they always raise to the occasion. Her passion for teaching is contagious and her work ethic does not quit.

    Ms. McSweeney goes above and beyond for her students by tutoring during lunch, late into the afternoon and even assists students remotely in the evening via Google Meet. Mrs. McSwenney is the type of teacher that is never to busy to support her students in their educational journey. Her ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly superior. While firm in her instruction she always finds was to engage her students. She also has excellent written and verbal communication skills with both parents and teachers.

    Mrs. McSwenney also works Saturdays with the Kean University upward bound program.

  • JESSICA NOLASCO

    5th Grade Teacher
    Lincoln School

    Mrs. Nolasco teaches her students and everyone around her what kindness is through her actions, choices, and words. She values and builds relationships with her students that build trust, equity, responsibility, and confidence. Her classroom is fun, positive, and immensely creative. Mrs. Nolasco is one of the funniest people at Lincoln School. Her sense of humor, creativity, and teaching style creates a bond with and among her students. She is a brilliant teacher. Students are being challenged and learning all of the time. There is always laughing, conversation, and music coming from her classroom.  Mrs. Nolasco values and inspires students to be good people who make good choices and have empathy for others. She is the teacher that everyone wants, she is the teacher that other teachers want to be more like.

    Mrs. Nolasco has a system of communication with parents that is welcoming, informative, and creates a partnership. There are times when students struggle with trauma and family crisis. There is no limit to the support she has given to families. Mrs. Nolasco is extremely valuable outside of the classroom, being involved with staff training, organizing professional development, becoming certified Google Apps instructor, mentoring student teachers, and more! For all of her hard work and dedication to the school, she won Educator of the Year.

  • MARISA LOPES

    English Teacher
    Franklin Elementary School

    This is the New Jersey Education Association Community Service Spotlight recipient.

    The expectations Ms. Lopes has of her students is to excel not only in the classroom, but also as citizens in society.   She teaches her students to become lifelong learners, contribute to their community, and understand their role as global citizens. She integrates teachable moments and service learning into her lessons by implementing hands-on activities, technology, making personal connections and applying differentiated instruction to make learning relevant to meet their individual needs.

    The key to being a successful teacher is making connections with your students, their parents and community.  ELL students were among the student groups most impacted by the pandemic, faced with more adversity than their peers. During that time, Ms. Lopes remained a strong advocate for her students, ensuring those families had whatever resources they needed as well as help them understand the ever-changing schedules, reopening plans and quarantine protocols. Some of her students experienced personal tragedies during that time.

    Ms. Lopes is an outstanding teacher who transforms reluctant learners into eager ones, sets high expectations, and helps them find their individual talents along the way. Recently, she advocated to start an after school club for ELL students. Her goal is to have students participate in project based activities that will give back to the community, while finding themselves a place in the community.

    For all of her efforts at the school, she was named Franklin Elementary School Teacher of the Year 21-22. As an award winning teacher who advocates for her students, we honor Ms. Lopes as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • PAT GAMBINO

    Math Teacher
    William Annin Middle School

    Ms. Gambino is a model for all of his teaching colleagues. She is the epitome of a veteran teacher. She is caring, attentive, helpful, dedicated, and organized. She has been a pillar of strength for many of her colleagues as they navigate a new normal. She puts others first, always lends an ear when needed and reminds her colleagues of how important they are to their students.

    Ms. Gambino can anticipate the needs and questions of her students and comes prepared every day to tackle those challenges.  She not only meets the needs of her students academically but also socially and emotionally making sure they all feel welcome and safe and in her class.  Ms. Gambino’s warmth and genuine care is not limited to that of her students.  She is a well-respected member of the school community having served as team leader for almost two decades and continues to join committees dedicated to the well-being of the faculty, staff and students. Her colleagues often find themselves seeking out her advice for many of their own personal needs whether school or home related.  All in all Ms. Gambino is an amazing woman and an even better educator.

    In the last month, Ms. Gambino offered direct support to a student she has in her homeroom and math class by organizing a Valentine’s Day basket drop off. The student this basket was delivered to is a seventh grader who was diagnosed in December with cancer and he has not been in school with us since the diagnosis. In an effort to provide the student with messages of hope, motivation, and support, Ms. Gambino and her students made cards and snowflake cutouts.

    Ms. Gambino has a heart of gold. She is a wonderful mother to her two kids and countless WAMS kids (both staff and students!). She is a wonderful model for the students of what it means to show kindness to others. She is a wonderful model to us colleagues of what it means to show support and be there for one another. Because of her deep caring for everyone in the William Annin Middle School Family, we honor Ms. Gambno as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • MS. KEVA TREACY

    Art Teacher
    The Deron School

    Ms. Keva Treacy is an Art Teacher that fosters an appreciation and love of the world of Art. Ms. Keva sparks the imagination of her students each and every day and inspires them to create with the influences of culturally diverse artists and ideas from around the world. This is evident around our school building and in homes with paintings, sculptures, drawings and the feelings of joy you can see on our student’s faces when they leave Ms. Treacy’s classroom.

    Attending her Art Class fills the students with happiness as she individualizes lessons and works to help each learner achieve their potential. More importantly she facilitates an appreciation of the aesthetics and beauty of the world around us for the entire educational community. With music and videos, students are treated to the enjoyment and peace of mind that come from colors and textures, modern and traditional, and any and all Artwork that nurtures our students’ souls. Although our school services students with disabilities, Ms. Treacy promotes and develops our students’ capabilities.

    Ms. Treacy partners with other teachers in the school and works with them in all areas of the curriculum (academics and Related Arts) to help the students learn. Whenever there is a need to volunteer or provide additional help for staff, Ms. Treacy shares her time and talents to help. Any community or philanthropic projects that require assistance, she is always there to help make a poster, sign, or support in any way she can to help fulfill the Mission of The Deron School.

    For spreading her passion for Art, we honor Ms. Treacy as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • GINA PAPPAS

    Language Arts Teacher
    A.S. Faust Intermediate School

    Ms. Pappas has been teaching English for 25 years at A.S. Faust Intermediate School in East Rutherford. Over her time at the school, she has touched countless students’ lives, mentored many young educators, and has even produced plays for the school. She has her students focus on using good grammar, proper punctuation, and correct spelling to communicate their ideas. She goes above and beyond for her student’s day in and day out. She always makes herself available to them, offering to help whenever is convenient for them.

    For the past 10 years, Ms. Pappas has invited local veterans to school to share their experiences with the students. Those veterans are honored and given a chance to talk to the students at the school. Each year Ms. Pappas would also dress as The Cat in the Hat for “Read Across America Day.” For her love for teaching English, we honor Ms. Pappas as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • KRISTEN PALMER

    Special Education Teacher
    Roosevelt School, Lyndhurst

    Mrs. Palmer goes above and beyond for not only her students, but her coworkers as well. She always knows exactly what to say to boost someone’s confidence, brighten his or her mood, and see the positive in any situation. Mrs. Palmer makes everyone feel like a rock star.

    In a time of understaffing and many challenges, Mrs. Palmer has taken on extra classes with no complaints. It’s no secret that this school year has been a challenge in getting students caught up, and Mrs. Palmer is a major source of support for many of our students.

    Mrs. Palmer runs the school’s discipline program. While it may seem like students would resent the “lunch detention” teacher, it is quite the opposite. The students who end up with Mrs. Palmer never leave detention upset. She has a way of giving them the guidance they need and helping them understand why it’s important to make better choices.

  • CHRISTINA DUNNE

    5th Grade Teacher
    Lincoln School, Caldwell

    Mrs. Dunne has literally rocked in every way possible over her 34 years teaching! She does everything full throttle, whether it is teaching students how to read, solve math, analyze history, study geography, crochet, and much more. She takes any topic in any subject and teaches her students about it though singing, dancing, drawing, investigating, and more. Former students from years past regularly come back to visit her, and share how they recall many of the topics she taught, because she created songs and dances to go along with the content. Most importantly, she builds a trusting relationship with all students. We have never had a student or parent express anything but praise for Mrs. Dunne.

    She works one on one with any student after school who needs assistance in any subject. She also works with parents and supports them on how to support their children with homework.

    Mrs. Dunne coordinates the annual USA Celebration Day, where her students write letters to invite veterans to the school for a special ceremony where they sing patriotic songs, honor the veterans for their service, and spend time speaking and listening to them. The school community loves this event, and so do the veterans. Mrs. Dunne also teaches her students about service projects. Her students participate in several service projects each year. One of the biggest is an annual Thanksgiving Food drive where students not only collect the food, but make beautiful Thanksgiving boxes that include all of the fixings for a full Thanksgiving dinner. These are then donated to the local food pantry.

  • KARA KELLY

    Social Studies Teacher
    Mount Arlington Public School

    Miss Kelly’s love of teaching and genuine passion for the subject is evident daily. Miss Kelly brings history to life with her engaging and authentic learning activities. She has a knack for universally desgning lessons so that her students of all abilityies are appropriately challenged and met with high expectations. She communicates and radiates a personal enthusiasm and positive attitude that makes learning such an exciting experience.

    Miss Kelly fosters student relationships as the Middle School Boys Head Soccer Coach and Girls Head Basketball Coach. She is a positive role model for her students and players, constantly modeling teamwork and promoting leadership. For being the fun loving teacher that every student wants to be around we honor Miss Kelly as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • KIRSTEN TIEDEMANN

    3rd Grade Teacher
    North Dover Elementary School

    Mrs. Tiedemann is warm, caring, and accessible to all her students, parents and colleagues. She is enthusiastic about teaching her third graders. She possesses a natural ability to cultivate a culture of innovation inspiring her students to love learning and to enjoy coming to school. She presents material in an engaging manner such as taking the kids bowling to demonstrate forces and motion, and making a classroom size coordinate grid on the classroom floor to engage her students actively in learning as they move along the grid. She is a forward-thinking leader and a developer of lessons for out plethora of new instructional programs. Above all else, Kristen loves learning. She is always looking for ways not only to bring out the best in her students but also highlight a positive mind-set, and inspire colleagues. She exudes kindness, congeniality, and a collaborative nature.  She is a true role model to others.

    Mrs. Tiedemann shares a belief that an inspired student can achieve amazing things! She values real-world learning and instills a lifelong love of learning with her “Think Out- of-the-Box” hands-on approach to teaching challenging topics for all her third graders. She has a repertoire of teaching strategies that capture her students’ interest in the first few minutes of the lesson and then changes it up to match the content of the lesson. Her classroom exemplifies a warm, creative, positive learning environment. She works with under-privileged third graders and despite many lower academic need students, she works to ensure that she levels the playing field and provides equitable experiences for all of them,. Ultimately she works to ensure that they are loving learning and meeting their learning goals. Mrs. Tiedmann is fair, warm, pleasant, and approachable. She displays an even-keel tolerance celebrating student differences and teaching acceptance to her young learners. Helping her students develop into well-rounded, kind-hearted, community members is her paramount goal.

    Mrs. Tiedemann goes above and beyond participating in extra actives daily. She spearheads a variety of school initiatives and is among the first to volunteer or pilot programs or lead teams. She is a current member our school’s Steering Committee and SCiP committees, the district Interview Committee, and Pandemic Spirit committee. She is currently piloting a new mathematics program. She works with the Character Education committee to steamroll initiatives. Her efforts on this team helped win the school two different Promising Practice Awards from the Character.org.  She has participated in our Apple Cohorts to review additional training supporting the district-wide technology initiatives turn-keying what she learned to the staff. She has worked after-school as a Title 1 tutor and continues to work to suggest ways to improve the overall climate and culture of the building. For all of her efforts, Mrs. Tiedemann was awarded the NJ Governor’s Educator of the Year in 2019-2020 School Year.

  • KATHRYN STERN

    8th Grade Special Education – Social Studies
    Kawameeh Middle School

    Ms. Stern rocks the 8th grade social studies department at Kawameeh Middle School! She is loved by all of her students. She makes history come alive by being enthusiastic, theatrical, and creative. Ms. Stern has many qualities that one looks for in a teacher but her main quality is the connection that she makes with the students.

    In today’s climate where school are running on skeletal staff, Ms. Stern will cover classes when other teachers are absent. Ms. Stern is a history teacher and even though she isn’t an expert in science, she has picked up a science class and has done her best to make science interesting and applicable to the students. Ms. Stern will do anything it takes to help her students. Whether they need extra help or need information presented in a different way, she gets it done. She uses her full bag of tricks which includes music, dancing, acronyms, pneumonic devices, you name it. It is because of this dedication to her profession and her school that we honor her as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • FRANK D'AMICO

    Vice Principal & Varsity Football Coach
    Hasbrouck Heights Middle School

    Mr. D’Amico is a former student who went to Hasbrouck Heights Middle and High School and who, upon graduating from college, taught for 12 years as a PE teacher. He was the embodiment of the most well-liked teacher in his school. Every day, kids would look forward to all the fun and creative activities in their PE class which included learning new sports and working on team-building exercises.

    While teaching PE, Mr. D’Amico had a desire to become an administrator and got his opportunity to come back to his alma mater of Hasbrouck Heights Middle School where he became the school’s Vice Principal. For 8 years he has brought a smile to not only the students but also to all the teachers who taught him earlier when he was a student in middle school. Mr. D’Amico is always one of the first people at the school in the morning and one of the last to leave at the end of the day. He is a very hands-on administrator and is always in the hallways saying hi to all the students, asking how their day is going, and if there is anything he can do to help them. When a student is struggling in school, you can always find them talking with Mr. D’Amico whose words of wisdom always help to make things seem better.  He has also done an incredible job keeping the staff and students safe with all the new safety protocols.  There isn’t a hall in the school that doesn’t have a safety sign created by Mr. D’Amico.

    Mr. D’Amico was one of the boys’ varsity football coaches for Hasbrouck Heights for the past 17 years working with the offensive and defensive line. Through his unique coaching skills of stressing the importance of a balance of academics and sports, his players have excelled at both football and school. For the past 3 years, Hasbrouck Heights has won the Group 1 Division 1 State Championship 3 times with 2 of those seasons being perfect seasons with a record of 12-0. Many of his players have gone on to excel in their college careers and credit Mr. D’Amico’s strong work ethic to their success in college.

    For his lifelong commitment to Hasbrouck Heights Middle School, we honor Mr. D’Amico as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • KYLE PLUCINSKY

    Statistics Teacher
    Randolph High School

    Mr. Plucinsky, affectionately known to his students as “Ploosh”, has left a positive impact on his students; frequently being invited to athletic events, teacher appreciation events, and receiving emails from former students thanking him for preparing them for college. As a Statistics Teacher, he frequently brings real-life examples and experiments into his lessons to show the “reality” of math. On top of being a teacher at Randolph High, Mr. Plucinsky is an adjunct professor of Statistics at County College of Morris. This insight into what students will be required to know at a higher level allows Mr. Plucinsky to tailor his high school lessons to be as useful as possible.

    Few teachers have had more of an impact on the Randolph school community. In the 9 years that Mr. Plucinsky has been at RHS he has been a swim coach, the student council advisor of two classes (totaling 8 years in total), and is the current Key Club co-advisor. For student council, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that his students have had successful proms, senior events, fundraising opportunities, and more. He has done all of this despite the pandemic and the difficulties that came along with it. Recently, he and his co-advisor organized “Senior Night Live!” an award ceremony and variety show for the Randolph High students.

    Mr. Plucinsky has also shown his flexibility academically to ensure that all students find success in his classes. He provides extra help whenever possible and works with students to ensure they meet their full potential. More than one or two students have taken his senior statistics course just because they know he teachers it, or because an older sibling recommended it. Mr. Plucinsky has been a go-to teacher in his department to temporarily cover classes in the event of an emergency. Over the past few years he has taken on extra courses, all the while treating his new and/or temporary students as his own. To his students and colleagues he is warm, approachable, and funny.

  • LAURA MARKOWSKI

    Kindergarten Teacher
    Mountain View School

    Ms. Markowski has a great relationship with her students because she never forgets what it is like to be a child. She works hard to find activities that students will enjoy and find fun and engaging. She sees all the positive qualities in her students and celebrates their growth. She takes time out to make sure that every child feels special and loved. She makes learning fun in her classroom.

    Ms. Markowski goes above and beyond as a teacher. She is the leader of the kindergarten team at Mountainview School. Last school year, she not only had to work from home for the first ½ of the year, she also started with a whole new kindergarten team. Despite this, she was still finding ways to share activities and guide her team from home. Ms. Markowski also went out of her way for her students. She would drop off materials to student homes on her own time. She creates monthly take home activities and helps to put together a Kindergarten book as keepsake for the children. Ms. Markowski has done lots of wonderful programs over the years including having students create, write, and act in a film. At the end of the project, she actually had the films viewed in a movie theater.

    Ms. Markowski has a great relationship with her students’ parents. Parents that have her as a teacher feel at ease with her. She is able to calm their fears and helps them enjoy the kindergarten experience.

    Ms. Markowski is a great co-worker. She goes out of her way to help people. She is always looking for the best activities, ideas, and ways to make learning meaningful and fun for her students. She is the glue that holds the kindergarten team together.

  • JAMES WIATER

    Teacher of Construction Technology
    Woodbridge Academy

    Mr. Wiater is not only a compassionate individuals, he is a teacher who has shown great flexibility. While all teachers had to pivot and learn new ways of teaching, Mr. Wiater also had to change schools and programs, going from teaching Carpentry at Piscataway Vocational to Construction Technology at Woodbridge Academy to fill the void created by a retiring teacher. His students have nothing but high praises for Mr. Wiater. He is able to ignite the sutdents’ passion for learning and make them desire to learn more.

    Mr. Wiater is able to make great connections with the students. They are always saying great things about their experience in his shop, and that’s a testament to his personality and his ability to individualize instruction in a way most of us can only hope to do.

    Mr. Wiater is also a published author who uses his proceeds to support his Friends of Solo Foundation. The purpose of this non-profit is to provide safety equipment for K9 officers such as ballistic vests, trauma kits, and oxygen kits to name a few. Friends of Solo has aided dozens of K9s nationwide since its inception. He received a Civilian Recognition Award for donating a K9 ballistic vest for one of the Sheriff’s Department K9s.

  • PAUL TORTORELLA

    Physical Education Teacher
    University Middle School, Irvington

    Mr. Tortorella has been a P.E. teacher at University Middle School for 12 years and, since the start of the pandemic, has offered to teach multiple classes in the gym due to staff shortages. He does this because he believes children benefit from being physically active, and the P.E. can help provide an outlet for students who may be struggling mentally or emotionally. His own personal attendance for the last two school years stands at 100%. Mr. Tortorella doesn’t miss work because of his dedication to making his school setting a safe haven for students where they can engage in physical activity, socialize, and improve their self-image and self-value. Mr. Tortorella has stated, “I would feel bad missing work when we have so many students who are going through profound situations at home and socially since the pandemic started. These young people were at home on virtual instruction for over a year and didn’t get to see their friends in-person, and may have experiences the death of a loved one. If I can make their lives better in a PE setting, it’s my obligation to do so.”

    Mr. Tortorella continued to be involved in Play Unified during the pandemic. Play Unified is an after school program for students with developmental and physical disabilities funded by the Special Olympics. While on virtual instruction from March 2020 to April 2021, Mr. Tortorella met with the Play Unified students virtually multiple times per week to implement physical activity lessons. When students came back to campus in April 2021, Mr. Tortorella was instrumental in ensuing the annual Irvington Play Unified Day went on. In May 2021, Mr. Tortorella and his Play Unified athletes competed in the one day event. As Mr. Tortorella often states, “this is the one day where our exceptional students are allowed to showcase their talents and growth. They didn’t get this opportunity in 2020 due to the pandemic. I wanted to have the students have the opportunity in 2021, and I’m grateful it was allowed.”

    Coach Tort has also served as the Head Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach at Irvington High School since 2015. In his time as head coach, Coach Tort has earned one conference title (2017), and six state playoff berths. Coach Tort has also been the head varsity boys volleyball since 2019. When the NJSIAA cancelled the girls volleyball season in fall 2020, Coach Tort agreed to serve as the assistant boys soccer coach at Irvington High School.  He agreed to fill in after another assistant was unable to coach due to the pandemic. That season, Coach Tort helped the Irvington Boys Soccer team win the Super Essex Conference Championship, and the team made it to the state semifinals. Coach Tort currently serves as the Assistant Varsity Girls Basketball Coach. He agreed to fill in last-minute after another coach had to resign due to issues related to the pandemic. Coach Tort is the most dependable, reliable person an athletic department could hope to work with, and he puts forth all of this extra effort to improve the lives of the students of Irvington.

  • APRIL BARRY

    Media Center Specialist and School Librarian 
    Red Bank Regional High School

    Mrs. Barry is described as pure sunshine to her co-workers and students. She is always optimistic, happy, and uplifting. Mrs. Barry always has a kind word, a smile, and good advice for everyone she comes across in the school halls. She organizes groups, orders books, and takes the time to greet everyone happily and sincerely.  She co-found the RBR Feminist Group and always organizes the meetings, but lets the students lead and take credit for everything.  She connects with individuals and always makes you feel like you are the only one and most important person in the room.

    Mrs. Barry is always available for questions, concerns, events and last minute changes. This is not just her job and career but her passion. She organizes classes and events for both students and staff.  Those classes are interesting, informative and beneficial. Mrs. Barry helps teachers with classes, students with material and anyone else with books and information they need to succeed. For being one of the most helpful people to walk through the doors of Red Bank Regional High School, we honor Mrs. Barry as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • MICHAEL HEGEDUS

    Chinese Teacher
    Seton Hall Prep

    Mr. Hegedus’s ability to teach Chinese at Seton Hall Prep is exceptional. Chinese teacher peers have been blown away with his skills and technological knowledge that he has presented to them. He has shown other teachers many different websites that they could use to improve their students’ knowledge and proficiency and has provided excellent recommendations for teaching.  Because Mr. Hegedus is a non-native speaker of Chinese, his insights into how to teach Chinese to students are outstanding. He provided teachers with ideas on how to help students learn Chinese characters and all the other teachers, all native speakers of Chinese, were delighted with his suggestions. They returned to the next session stating that Michael’s ideas “worked.” Since that first time some 10 years ago, Michael has presented every year at the Roundtable discussions. Each time, participants requested that he return later in the year to provide even more ideas and suggestions. Michael became a very valuable member of the Roundtable and took on a leadership role. At Saturday sessions, other Chinese teachers always asked him for advice on how to improve their teaching, and he was very generous with his knowledge and time. He is a treasured member of our group. Unfortunately, since the pandemic, we have had to cancel many sessions or hold them via Zoom, but Michael always comes through for us.

    Mr. Hegedus has been teaching for the past 10 years at Seton Hall Preparatory School where he helped to design and develop the Chinese program. He was originally hired to teach both Spanish and Chinese, but his Chinese classes became so popular that the administration changed his schedule to make him become a full-time teacher in Chinese. He presently teaches all levels of Chinese and has become a strong proponent for encouraging his students to take his AP Chinese course. They always perform well on the AP exam and show increased proficiency each year, a credit to Mr. Hegedus’s teaching. His courses are so popular that last year they had to add another part time teacher to pick up the extra classes. He has an impressive work ethic and dedication to his students. He encourages them to work hard and apply for opportunities to improve their Chinese. Mr. Hegedus is the model teacher who cares about his students and helps them achieve a great deal of success. He has also accompanied his students to China in wonderful trips where they experienced local customs and were able to talk to local residents and practice their Chinese.

    Mr. Hegedus is also involved in helping others who are less fortunate. He is active in Feeding America, a hunger relief organization, and encourages his students to follow his lead and take part in helping others. He is a model citizen who involves his students in many extra-curricular civic activities. He has organized activities in school that encourage his students to be active members of a productive society. He has worked with his students to fulfill their community service projects by helping to make the lives of others better.

    In addition to Mr. Hegedus’s wonderful qualities as a teacher, he has developed his leadership abilities in the field of Chinese. For the past few summers, he was asked to teach in a Chinese STARTALK program in South Carolina. He is willing to share his knowledge of teaching with many different groups.  He has also organized trips to China for his students and has informed other members of school communities on the benefits of learning Chinese. A glance at his resumé shows that wherever Michael goes, he becomes an active and respected member of the community. He is not only a superb teacher, he is a natural leader. In 2019, Michael Hegedus received the Outstanding Chinese Teacher Award from the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS). For his dedication to teaching the Chinese language and culture, we honor Mr. Hegedus as a Teacher Who Rocks.

  • JENNIFER CORLEY

    History Teacher
    Randolph High School

    Ms. Corley is a teacher who strives to not only prepare her students for their rigorous AP exam annually, but to set them up as successful citizens moving into the real world. She is supportive, yet rigorous and consistently expects the absolute best from her students.  She sets them up for success on the AP US History exam, while also taking the time to demonstrate empathy and understanding when students struggle, especially in the challenging educational setting we are experiencing today.  Ms. Corley is always prepared and willing to help students whenever needed.  She is creative and engaging in her lessons which leads to her class being loved by many students.

    Ms. Corley strives to provide support and feedback for her students beyond her daily work days.  As a second-career teacher, she offers a captivating perspective for students with her real world experiences.  She is well-versed in her content and recently completed two additional graduate courses on Teaching the Holocaust as well as Teaching Prejudice Reduction through Kean University.  Ms. Corley has been a frequent attendee at the Gilder Lehrman Teaching Seminars to deepen her understanding of historical topics and bring them to her students in an appropriate manner.

    Ms. Corley has been the co-advisor for the Bridges organization for the past three years.  Bridges is a club which focuses on supporting those in need within the Randolph community and beyond.  They often hold food and clothing drives as well as prepare food packages for local drop-offs.  Additionally, Ms. Corley is the co-advisor for the National History Honor Society.  She works to coordinate speaking arrangements for students, American holiday recognition, and activities to support our American troops and veterans.