Teachers Who Rock WMTR Winners 2023

Congratulations to the Following Teachers!

7th Grade Mathematics Teacher
East Hanover Middle School
Nominated By: Stacie Costello

East Hanover Middle School is honored to nominate Mr. Patrick “Pat” Algieri for the Class of 2023 Teachers Who Rock! As a Grade 7 teacher of mathematics, Pat manages to infuse warmth and humor into lessons that many students might otherwise find intimidating. His extensive knowledge of curriculum and best educational practices has led to an increase in both student achievement as well as the number of students advancing to honors-level math placement. A fan of 80’s classic rock, Pat often incorporates music into his warm-up activities. He uses music to reach those students who struggle with mathematics, and he has achieved incredible results! Mr. Algieri is also a fixture in East Hanover athletics and extracurriculars. During his tenure at the middle school, he has coached softball and wrestling, advised the industrial arts club, and has provided extra help in both before and after-school math programs. Pat even eats lunch with his students in the cafeteria each day! Students have been known to trade up for one of his deluxe Italian subs (or maybe Pat is making out on these deals…who can say?) In short, Mr. Algieri routinely reminds us that teaching is not a 9-to-5 job but a commitment to the students and families we proudly serve. For all that he does, we honor Mr. Patrick Algieri as a Teacher Who Rocks!

JROTC Teacher
Irvington High School
Nominated By: John Taylor

Sgt. Craig is a retired military officer who chose to enter the education profession after he completed nearly two decades of service. Sgt. Craig has taught the JROTC courses at Irvington High School for the last sixteen years. During this time, Sgt. Craig has provided students with opportunities for leadership roles as part of the program. Sgt. Craig helps mold these students into young adults that seek out ways to improve their academic performance, social relationships, and self-belief. JROTC has produces 9 of the last 10 class valedictorians at IHS, and students in the program have gained admission to colleges such as Brown, Yale, Norwich, Amherst, MIT, and the US Military Academy at West Point. Countless others have chosen to enlist in the military after high school to serve the United States, and to earn money for college. Sgt. Craig works with every scholar on improving their study habits, homework submissions, college applications, and life decisions. Sgt. Craig is an instrumental influence on the students and uses his life experience to guide students in their decision-making process in terms of their post-high school life. He offers them opportunities to participate in JROTC competitions throughout the state, and to perform as members of the IHS color guard at school athletic events, township holiday parades, and at events for Seton Hall, Rutgers-Newark, and Kean University. Without Sgt. Craig, the Irvington JROTC students wouldn’t have these leadership opportunities and life coach mentoring. He is a valuable, irreplaceable member of the Irvington High School community, and we honor Sgt. Harvey Craig as a Teacher Who Rocks.

Art Teacher
Intervale Elementary School & Littleton Elementary School
Nominated By: Fred Perrotti

Between both Intervale Elementary School and Littleton Elementary School, Susan Lipere teaches over 700 students. She arrives for work at least 90 minutes before her first class to set her day up for some productive lessons for her students. She is always on her computer after work and weekends putting together lesson plans, grading art and constantly coming up with new lessons that not only teaching about art, but how to empower her students and relate her exercises with everyday challenges. Sue is truly a teacher who rocks.

Science Teacher
Teaneck High School
Nominated By: Dr. Janice Dowd

Kerrie Viray is this year’s NJEA Community Spotlight Recipient.

As a science teacher with expertise in environmental science, Ms. Viray brings science and biology to life for her students. She explains the many difficulties that we face because of climate change and all the steps that are needed to rectify the problems that her students will face in the years ahead. Not only does she explain her craft of biology and environmental science so clearly, but because of her after school activities of being the head coach of the Crew Team, she also shows her students what it means to take care of the world and its inhabitants. Long after students leave her class, they still talk about Ms. Viray and the lasting impression that she made on them. She creates an atmosphere of love and trust in her classes while at the same time exacting, and receiving, excellent academic work from her students.

Orton Gillingham Reading Specialist
North Dover Elementary School
Nominated By: Heather Carlton & John Gannaio

Mrs. Hemenway has been an educator for 22 years and has taught kindergarten, first grade, BSI reading, and BSI math. She is now an Orton Gillingham lead teacher for kindergarten through sixth grade after completing the three-year program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2022. She works with small groups of general education and special education students daily for thirty minute sessions and effectively supports students toward mastering language skills through structured, direct, multisensory and individualized instruction. As a result, students’ fluency scores have made impressive gains since the beginning of the academic year. Additionally, Mrs. Hemenway also serves on the North Dover Elementary School Intervention and Referral Services team helping to formulate coordinated services and team delivery systems to address the full range of student, learning, behavior, social and health problems.

LDTC – Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant
Mount Arlington Public School
Nominated By: Jeff Grillo

Nicole successfully works in collaboration with parents, teachers, and members of the child study team to provide research-based instructional strategies to assist students who are struggling academically. She is the ultimate team player and her dedication to her profession and students is absolutely inspirational. She is like Wonder Woman, always springing into action wherever and whenever she is needed, especially with our most challenging students. Nicole displays a genuine caring spirit toward them, and her patience abounds. She strives to find what works for each of her students and then works to implement those strategies. Not only does she advocate and go above and beyond for her special education students, but she also gives the same amount of attention and effort to her colleagues and school administration. Nicole has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, especially as a reading/literacy specialist. She plays an integral role as co-coordinator of the I&RS team and as a staff trainer on identifying and supporting students with dyslexia. Nicole is an amazing, dynamic educator that continually provides support and advice for all in the hopes of making Mount Arlington Schools a positive place to learn and work.

Science Teacher
Morris Knolls High School
Nominated By: Robert Geary, Jen Volz, Matthew Higgins

Laura is the type of teacher who reaches the challenging students. She’s able to make science fun and engaging and make sure every student in her class will be fully exposed to the material. Laura is also the Ski & Snowboard Club Advisor. She’s been able to influence students who aren’t involved in any activities join the club and find a place to fit in. She is a firecracker of a personality – always laughing and talking to everyone and bringing people together using sarcastic but never mean-spirited humor. She is so animated and brings total Jersey Girl attitude to every conversation. Colleagues would say Laura is one part Cyndi Lauper, one part Joan Jett, and quite a few dashes of Bjork. Laura is a teacher who gives her all and is truly a Teacher Who Rock.

English Teacher
Science Park High School
Nominated By: Tim Fleming

Shawn is a teacher who, through his unique and challenging method of teaching, showcases a philosophy that teaches students to teach themselves. Students in his classes learn how to think critically and take ownership of their own education. He doesn’t teach them one principle, but how to understand any principle. Shawn does all of that while also connecting to students. They want to be in his class because he motivates them to like learning, and to enjoy the challenge of a rigorous education. They like his class and they like him. He creates dynamic relationships with colleagues, students, parents, and administration. He is an inspiration.

5th Grade Teacher
Thomas Jefferson Middle School
Nominated By: Hilary Almeida

Debra joined the staff at Teaneck after a successful career in the entertainment business. She had decided to dedicate her professional life to the field of teaching, pursuing two Master’s degrees, one in education and the other in educational leadership as well as multiple certifications. Debra is an inspiration to her students as a life-long learner. She has modeled her belief in goal setting, hard work, and following one’s dreams. Debra works tirelessly to make sure all of her students’ educational needs are being addressed to the best of her ability. In her classroom, she implements critical thinking practices, employing project-based learning, depth-of-knowledge questioning techniques and multiple intelligences. She creates an inclusive co-teaching model environment by collaborating with inclusion teachers to modify instruction and review Individual Education Plans. Debra is a visionary and trailblazer. To serve the district’s diverse student population, she pioneered the first Hispanic Heritage month production and for many years chaired the planning committee and performed for annual celebrations. She spearheaded a highly effective Reader’s Theater pilot program to reach struggling readers. In addition, she was responsible for designing a distinguished writing program rooted in groundbreaking methods for 5th graders. Debra has always focused on the power and importance of community building.

English Teacher
Morris County School Of Technology
Nominated By: Samantha Shane

Cathy Mohrle embodies the definition of an outstanding educator. She continually hones her craft to make her students rise to the next level. Her willingness to be flexible and adapt to the needs of her students shows her exceptional dedication to her students. She makes each student feel essential to her classroom environment and allows them to create authentic projects. Students are able to create podcasts on self-selected topics, write letters to local officials for change, and publish their work. Moreover, she involves parents in the learning process to ensure the success of her students.

6th Grade Special Education Teacher
William Annin Middle School
Nominated By: Deborah Donzeiser

Melanie Turtur has been a special education teacher for 20 years! With her caring and positive attitude, Melanie creates a culture in the math classroom where students with learning differences feel comfortable taking risks and asking for support when needed. She anticipates her students’ learning needs to prevent frustration and can often be found providing extra help to her students on her free period.

Drama Teacher
West Milford High School
Nominated By: Nick Pollaro

Heather has a way of bringing out the best in every student she mentors through discipline, praise, encouragement, and guidance. Her students’ play productions are performed with great professionalism because of the comfortable and relaxed environment she provides, one that enables freedom of creative expression for her mentees. From start to finish each production has the potential of becoming a grueling experience but is instead a joyful and memorable undertaking for all involved. She leaves a lasting imprint on the lives of so many of her students and it is through her Theater Arts Program that lifelong bonds are created and fostered.

Physical Education Teacher
Orange Avenue School
Nominated By: Elliot Shimansky

Michal does everything that he can to make sure all students are engaged and involved. He teaches kids life skills in every lesson and his patience is unmatched. He has been known to step up and do extra work like coaching winter track and helping out the wrestling team without accepting payment. Michal’s community and students are at the forefront of every decision that he makes.

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