Mabel G. Holmes School No. 5
Teacher of the Year
Degrees and Certifications:
Grade 6 Language Arts
There are a varying multitude of factors that have influenced me to become a teacher: My family, my culture, my personality, my own journey in education, and the city in which I was born and still love. My parents and all my former educators have influenced me to become a teacher. What I consider to be my greatest accomplishment in teaching, occurs every time I make a student feel seen or heard or validated; Whenever I can tell that I have added to a student’s burning desire to learn more, and not just contributed to the dimming of their light; Whenever I see myself in a student, and I choose to make, and not break. My greatest contribution to education is being the teacher I always needed.
I believe one of the components that makes me an outstanding teacher is my refusal to put myself on a pedestal; I do not view myself as superior to my students. I wholeheartedly believe that they deserve the same amount of dignity, grace and respect that I would give anyone else. I also try to demonstrate to my students how painfully human I am; How I am not perfect, I make mistakes, I have good days and bad. But I also demonstrate that I can reflect on myself, and apologize, and evolve from my experiences and grow. I think it is a good lesson in humanity for my students, and it shows that no matter how young they are, where they come from or what they look like, that this is how human relationships and interactions should be. I try to engage in normal human conversations with my students each day, and I try to facilitate a safe space for them to speak candidly about their own thoughts and feelings in regards to the world. Each day is a new day with new opportunities.
I think it’s important for us as teachers to build up their confidence and allow them to feel secure in their identity. They need to know that they are important and have an impact on the world. I also think good energy is important and can be contagious; I like to be positive and have fun with what I teach, because in that way my students will share in the good vibes too. Students tend to give “learning” a bad rap as being arduous and boring, and teachers have a hand in either ending that rhetoric or contributing to it.
Educational Service Professional of the Year
Degrees and Certifications:
Nursing, no matter the setting, takes care and compassion to render effective care. I graduated from Union County College as a Licensed Practical Nurse and continued my nursing journey graduating from Trinitas School of Nursing in Elizabeth, NJ. I have been a nurse for thirty years and my entire nursing journey has been at Rahway Hospital, now RWJ Barnabas Health working as a Medical-surgical, Respiratory, and Telemetry nurse for 15 years and the last 15 years as a Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse. I returned to school to advance my nursing practice at Chamberlain University obtaining my BSN (2015), MSN in Education (2018), Graduate Certificate in Nursing Leadership (2020), and NJCU for my School Nurse Certification (2017). My educational journey continues, and I will see what the next chapter unveils. Education is a lifelong journey in supporting my growth of knowledge to take care of diverse populations.
I was hired in 2016 as an Early childhood school nurse and floated to various schools having the opportunity to interact with diverse children and work collaboratively with administrators and staff. I was transferred to Dwyer Annex for a year and subsequently transferred to Mabel G. Holmes 5 Annex where I have been for the past three years. It’s funny how my two worlds have overlapped. I wanted to be an educator when I was in high school and nursing came about and was something I told myself “I can, I will, and I did”. It takes a special person to prioritize the health and well-being of diverse individuals and sacrificing myself and needs has been done. I never had children of my own, so my friends say, “you are in the right place working with the “little” ones and they lucky they got you”! I also, currently work as a Visiting Professor at Chamberlain University. It is exciting being able to support, educate, and impart real life experiences to future generation of nurses. My nursing journey was not easy but, in the end, all rewarding.