Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Health and Public Safety Academy
Teacher of the Year
Degrees and Certifications:
There are many factors that led me to pursue a career as an educator. My parents, teachers, and motherhood are the major influences that inspired me to teach. Growing up, my parents emphasized the importance of a strong character and obtaining an education. Moreover, they helped me with my homework, rewarded me for getting good grades, and encouraged me to always put forth my best effort. My parents were my first role models and my first teachers. They have instilled in me that education is the key to success and this same lesson is what I hope to instill in my students.
As a product of the Elizabeth Public School System, I was provided a well-rounded education. Throughout my primary and secondary education, I had many teachers that motivated me to do my best, set goals for myself, hold fast to my beliefs, and help others whenever possible. However, it was soon after I became a mother that I realized my desire to teach. Some of the first lessons that I taught to my children are those that I learned from my parents and my teachers. Through parenting I’ve learned that a caring and supportive educator provides children with a strong foundation and potential to learn.
As an educator in the field of special education, I have learned to see things from the perspective of each and every student. This experience has humbled me and has made me a more passionate, empathetic, and genuine person that uses the hybrid method to reach all of the unique learners in my classroom. It is my duty to instill pride, ethics, and integrity among my students. However, this cannot be accomplished unless a well-balanced relationship is established through trust, respect and understanding in order to educate students. To fulfill my role as an effective and outstanding educator, I must follow my philosophy of education that allows me to understand the purpose of schooling and building relationships with families and students. More importantly my philosophy helps me to achieve the ultimate goal of understanding the nature of learners that I have the privilege to educate on a daily basis.
I believe that motivation can engage students to work across all grade levels to become academically sound when competing globally, no matter the socioeconomic status. Motivation and engagement start with understanding the diverse needs of each and every student in the classroom. Getting to know the needs of your students is the number one motivating strategy that an educator must practice in order to achieve overall success in the classroom.
Educational Service Professional of the Year
Degrees and Certifications:
Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant
There are many factors that led me to pursue a career as an educator, but ultimately it was my parents' influence that inspired me to teach. Growing up as a child of immigrant parents, the importance of an education was engrained in me from the time I can remember. Since my parents were not fortunate enough to further their education beyond elementary school, their treasured reverence of an education for their daughters was their dream for us. They emphasized the importance of pride, hard work, and respect for teachers and education. Each evening, my parents would ask my sister and I what we learned in school that day, and in turn have us teach them. I thoroughly enjoyed taking on the role of a teacher and teaching my parents. It gave me such pride and happiness knowing that I helped my parents learn something new. I suppose it was this feeling that ultimately led me to pursue a career in education.
If I had to describe what I feel has been my greatest contribution/accomplishment as an educator over the past 20+ years, either in the role as general education teacher, special education teacher, or as a learning disabilities consultant, it is the relationships that I attempt to make with each student that crosses my path. I firmly believe that making each student believe that they are relevant, have a voice, and are supported, is necessary in their development and success. As an educator I can help instill my students with a strong sense of self-worth to help them navigate through the challenges and adversity that they encounter.
My responsibility towards my students is to ensure that they are always provided with the proper type of support and services to address their specific learning and social-emotional needs. This also encompasses assisting and supporting teachers to promote best practices in instruction. Although I may not be directly instructing them in a subject matter, I regularly meet with them to review their school progress, assist them in coping with school, family, and personal stressors, establishing a sense of safety, trust, and comfort, assisting with transition planning, and simply just listening to them with a nonjudgmental mind and reminding them of how important they are through endless encouragement, confidence, and love. The ultimate reward for me I find in education is the opportunity that is given to me each day to make a positive difference, regardless how small or big, in every student I encounter.