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EPS Teacher Among Special Guests Selected to Attend 2024 State of the State Address

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Elizabeth, N.J., January 9, 2024 – J. Christian Bollwage Finance Academy English teacher Emily Gutierrez was among several special guests announced to attend the 2024 State of the State Address on January 9 at the Statehouse in Trenton.


Among the special guests that Governor Murphy sought to recognize at his sixth State of the State are those who “reflect the ongoing – and highest – priorities of our administration: lowering costs, raising wages, and creating boundless opportunities for every family, especially the next generation of New Jerseyans,” according to a release from Trenton.


New Jersey has long been home to one of the best public education systems in the country. Seeking a leader from the education community to as one of the special guests, the governor’s office worked with the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) to identify a worthy representative. The NJEA then reached out to Elizabeth Education Association President John Griffin for a recommendation of an educator from the district who would represent the type of exceptional leaders at the heart of the administration’s work of building a better and brighter New Jersey.


Gutierrez, who became an English teacher at Elizabeth Public Schools after spending four years teaching in Union, had a dream of becoming a teacher since attending kindergarten at Christopher Columbus School No. 15 in Elizabeth. Since graduating from Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Leadership Academy (now Halsey, Jr. Health & Public Safety Academy) in Elizabeth in 2013 and receiving her bachelor’s degree from Kean University, she sought to return to the district in which she was educated as a youth. She was able to achieve that goal of returning to Elizabeth two years ago and has since been an active member of the Bollwage Finance community, making a positive impact as a teacher, tutor, member of the portfolio program, and as a union representative.


As Gutierrez provides her students with the skills and knowledge to pursue a college education, she is continuing her own educational journey. She is currently enrolled in the School Counseling graduate program at Kean University.


Elizabeth Public Schools takes great pride that one of its own will be featured among those who are making a significant impact on the future of the State of New Jersey.


“I am so proud that one of our teachers who also grew up and attended our schools has been selected for such a special honor for her dedication to teaching and learning,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “Her achievements as a former Elizabeth Public Schools student and current educator is representative both of our district meeting its goals of preparing our students for college and career success and of someone with a special ambition to dedicate her career and life to ensuring the success of the next generation of youth from her hometown community.”


“Our diverse school district and city is home to so many wonderful individuals who are capable of amazing things,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Charlene Bathelus Dorgely. “As a Board, we are excited to see one of our teachers who grew up right here in Elizabeth have her moment in the spotlight and receive this well-deserved recognition from the governor for the wonderful work she is doing to give our students every opportunity to succeed.”