JACKSON – Teachers and educational services professionals received recognition, awards and thanks from members of the township Board of Education and administration recently.
During a Board of Education meeting, Board President Giuseppe Palmeri informed the public that “we have the pleasure tonight of celebrating this year’s teachers of the year and educational services professionals of the year. The honorees are top notch educators who have absolutely mastered the art of teaching and supporting students.”
“They are models of excellence who have dedicated their lives to ensuring we are fulfilling our district mission of developing students’ scholarship, character and initiative. They are creative and energetic, smart and skilled, and they are truly a source of pride and inspiration for our district,” Palmeri added.
He noted however, “even those accolades don’t do them justice. What sets them apart is not just their ability to teach, to counsel, to support or to nurture. It is their ability to do all of that while modeling compassion, patience, and inclusiveness.”
Palmeri said, “they truly practice what they preach, and are proof that excellence is demonstrated in many ways. It is shown through a thoughtfully designed lesson that inspires students as they navigate through a rigorous curriculum and through a kind word or a smile to a student who needs a friendly face.”
The Board President noted that it was their “ability to engage students through creative lessons and compelling learning experiences and through a true commitment to students’ physical, social and emotional needs as well.”
“I think it’s this combination of grit and grace that makes our district staff so special. And the people we are honoring tonight possess the very best of both of those traits. It is truly our honor to recognize you for all that you are and all that you do,” Palmeri added.
The winners from Crawford-Rodriguez Elementary School included teacher Gina Karatzia and paraprofessional Maria Montulet.
Elms Elementary School Special Education Teacher Elizabeth Sernotti and paraprofessional Marilyn Kish were also recognized.
Reading teacher Lisa Raney and paraprofessional Catherine Macor were the winners from Holman Elementary School.
Johnson Elementary School’s recipients were teacher Brittany Angiolini and physical therapist Debra Mooney.
Rosenauer Elementary School was represented by teacher Douglas Jackson and Title I Interventionist Frieda Bardales as this year’s winners.
Switlik Elementary School had teacher Abigaill Duffy and paraprofessional Eileen Camara as their recipients.
Goetz Middle School noted social studies teacher Steven Jackson and Guidance Counselor Melissa Brown as their winners.
McAuliffe Middle School’s winners were math teacher Nicole Clauburg and paraprofessional Lisa Menafra.
Of Jackson’s two high schools, Jackson Liberty High School recognized special education teacher Julie Sica and paraprofessional Tyisha Ramirez. Jackson Memorial High School noted the accomplishments of French teacher Nancy Mousavi and nurse Marites Delfin.
The district also has the very difficult decision of selecting a district Teacher of the Year and district wide Educational Services Professional.
Palmeri announced the recipient of this year’s award has been described as being “one in a million” and having “the patience of a saint. She has worked with a variety of grade levels during her years here in the district and demonstrates great skill and love for helping students overcome their challenges.
“Each interaction with every child is always centered on being positive and supportive. Not only does she help students learn, she also helps them reflect on their behaviors and decisions, providing feedback in a nurturing and calming way,” Palmeri added.
He said the recipient “has a special gift for building self-esteem in students and building positive relationships among her peers. Her optimistic outlook on life adds to the climate at her school and has had a profound influence on students and faculty alike. For these reasons – we are proud to name as the District Educational Service Professional of the Year – From Switlik Elementary School – Paraprofessional Eileen Camera.
The award for the District Teacher of the Year went to Jackson Liberty High School teacher Julie Sica who Palmeri described as “an extremely bright and sophisticated educator who is known as much for her organizational skills, ability to motivate students and peers, and intellectual vigor as she is for her compassion, dedication, patience and kindness.”
Palmeri added, “she is a wonderful example of how hard work, dedication, passion and adaptability bring success – and even more impressive is that these attributes come as second nature to her and genuinely cares about the success of students, whether they are in her class or not and she is known for going above and beyond to make meaningful connections with her students and mentees.”
He went on to say that in the words of her principal – she is the kind of educator who all administrators and community members would be lucky to have teaching their children.”