We are proud to welcome the following teachers to the WJRZ Teachers Who Rock Class of 2018, presented by the New Jersey Education Association.
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS:
Lakewood Middle School
Alicia Intromasso was nominated by assistant principal Scott Horowitz. She is a life-long educator and learner, and she strives to instill a similar desire in all of the students with whom she works. Alicia challenges her students in a safe, rigorous and positive learning environment, encouraging them to challenge themselves and grow as individuals.
Alicia displays extraordinary interpersonal skills when communicating with students, parents, administrators and other staff members. She currently serves as a Senior Representative for the Lakewood Education Association, and she is fair, firm and consistent when dealing with any issues that may arise.
Alicia ignites her students' interest by creating learning opportunities that are challenging, meaningful, and relevant. She believes that teachers must embrace change, encourage innovation, and foster creativity; not just in their students, but in themselves. For all of these attributes, Alicia Intromasso deserves recognition as a Teacher Who Rocks.
Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST)
Cheryl McDonald was nominated by fellow teacher (and TWR ’17 member) Jessica Godkin. Cheryl has been a teacher at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology on Sandy Hook almost since the school’s inception in 1981, joining the staff in 1983. She helped to create the science program at MAST and has spearheaded the growth and development of the program since.
Cheryl inspires students with her passion and competence. Over the years, she has served as club advisor, a mentor to students on their senior project, and participated in many school committees. Outside of school, Cheryl’s demonstrates her compassion through her service to The Center in Asbury Park where she invites students to work in the kitchen preparing meal and serving AIDS patients. Her dedication to this project models the way students can serve their community in meaningful ways.
Cheryl takes care to make sure that each student knows what is needed to reach a high standard of success. She knows what each and every one of her students is capable of and pushes them to achieve their maximum. She guides, corrects, models and inspires them each and every day. It is for all of these reasons and many more that Cheryl McDonald is a Teacher Who Rocks.
Toms River East High School
As a special education teacher over the last decade, Nicole Foy works tirelessly to help her students overcome the unique challenges they face each and every day.
Beyond teaching them the curriculum, Nicole strives to help her students become productive, well-rounded people outside of the classroom. Nicole’s work day seemingly never ends, as she often spends her lunch time giving additional tutoring to her students, and her after school hours are often occupied by conferences and phone calls to parents and other school administrators to help make sure the students stay on track.
Nicole spends time and opens her heart to these children to give them the love and caring they may be missing and so desperately need. Her days are dedicated to the wellbeing of her students, and for her often unheralded efforts, she most certainly deserves to be recognized as a Teacher Who Rocks! Nicole was nominated by Paraprofessional, Fred Paccione.
Red Bank Middle School
Mary Wyman is a product of the Red Bank Borough Public Schools, and she is the epitome of what it means to be an educator. Even after working at RBMS for 28 years, Mary still possess the spirit and excitement that you often find in a first year teacher. As the Climate and Culture Specialist, Mary works with staff, students, families, administrators and others to ensure that a positive school culture and climate exists for everyone, every day, no matter what. Often referred to as the "Red Bank Cheerleader" Mary serves as an example as to how one should interact with the greater community.
Mary is an active member of the School Improvement Team, leads the AVID Site team, and attends and actively participates in all school, district and community events.
Mary also organizes trips, activities, fundraisers, and events that expose children to experiences that they would have never been able to have otherwise. Mary leads by example, taking students out into the community on weekends to volunteer at different community-based groups or to participate in different cultural and civic activities.
Mary continues to be the biggest advocate for the Red Bank Public Schools and its children. She continuously seeks to promote positive and compassionate messages and her priority is to highlight the amazing students and hardworking staff. Without question, Mary Wyman is a Teacher Who Rocks! Mary was nominated by EP RBMS principal Maria Iozzi and Red Bank Primary School principal, Luigi Laugelli.
Jackson Liberty High School
Laura Borelli is an English Teacher at Jackson Liberty high School and was nominated by Fellow Teacher, Arlene Wacha. Laura Borelli is Jackson Liberty High School’s “go to” teacher. If you need to organize a pep rally, go to Laura. If you need support of student council, go to Laura. If you need a wining varsity soccer, lacrosse, or basketball coach, go to Laura. If you need help with a fundraiser, Liberty Idol, or Brainiac competition, go to Laura.
Each year students are asked to rate their teachers, and Laura continually shines with high scores and comments from her students. For example; “She is an amazing teacher and always tries to relate the subjects we are learning about to the real world. Whether it be Shakespeare or writing essays, she always manages to make the subject interesting. As long as you do the work and put forth the effort, you will do really well. She's also a very caring person that clearly enjoys teaching and all of her students.”
Laura’s reputation with her colleagues has been elevated to Saint when she experienced a harrowing battle with cancer. Even when extensive chemotherapy treatments left her weakened and unable to walk, Laura came to school in a wheelchair, and students would stand in line to have the opportunity to wheel her around school. She was able to pull through with the entire school rallying by her side, and since then the school has held many cancer fundraisers spurred by the spirit Laura demonstrated as the battled the disease.
For all of these reasons, Laura Borrelli is without question a Teacher Who Rocks
Communications High School in Wall Twp.
Carol Caruso has been serving high school students for over 25 years, the last six at Communications High School as a guidance counselor. She takes a great deal of time getting to know her students personally, building a rapport that is essential for effective school counseling. She collaborates with staff and families to provide strategies and services that will better meet the needs of the students.
For example, two years ago when Carol noticed a strong need to help students who suffered with anxiety, cutting, suicidal thoughts, she created a guidance curriculum that integrated mindfulness into the classroom. Carol now co-teaches during the students' fitness class, providing instruction and activities to give students an overview of what it means to be "mindful." In addition to using activities like yoga, guided meditation, and roleplay to help strengthen attention and reduce anxiety before a test, Carol has helped integrate mindfulness into the school's curriculum.
Carol created the "Loo Review,” a monthly newsletter that she writes, prints out and puts on the back of EVERY bathroom stall door in every student and teacher bathroom. These one page flyers address ways to better one’s self mentally, physically, spiritually. The most recent Loo Review was titled "Making Peace with the Anxious Brain".
Her focus, energy, gratitude, selflessness, grace, eagerness to learn, and willingness to improve are just a few of the many reasons Carol Caruso is a Teacher Who Rocks. Carol was nominated by the Assistant principal, Kelly Harmon.
Brick Memorial High School
Dr. Mike Fitzgerald holds a doctorate in Biochemistry from Harvard University, and he works as a lab technician at Princeton University, but he’s most proud of working with the kids at Brick Memorial.
Mike is a model of professionalism, and he consistently goes out of his way to help students, whether the problems are academic or personal. Mike uses whatever little free time he has to inform counselors, talk to administrators and fellow teachers and sit in on meetings to serve the needs of the student.
In addition to his responsibilities as a Chemistry teacher, Mike also serves as the Assistant Advisor and Technical Director of the Brick Memorial Drama Club.
Despite the incredible workload he carries, Mike always maintains his unique sense of humor. He’s always able to ease any tension with a humorous remark or even a Chemistry pun. Who would have thought Chemistry could be funny?
For his dedication to his profession and his ability to meet all professional challenges, in and out of the classroom, Dr. Mike Fitzgerald is definitely a Teachers Who Rocks.
Walnut Elementary School (Toms River)
Shea O’Neill is the embodiment of highly effective passionate teaching. Despite being a new to the district, Shea has taken many leadership roles to spread her teaching techniques to better serve the children of Toms River.
As a history major, Shea sees the importance of exposing children to different cultures; to create world citizens who grow up and improve. To emphasize diversity, Shea holds an annual Cultural Celebration. Students, with their parents help, research their nationality and write interesting facts about their country of origin. The lesson culminates with a party, including dishes from their countries, and the children get to experience a trip around the world- before their sixth birthday.
Shea’s compassion for her students is unparalleled, and high student expectations are critical to her success. She believes that all children can excel in academics, regardless of where they start. To ensure optimal growth, she translates home correspondence into Spanish for her non-english speaking parents. On back to school night, Shea volunteers to translate for other teachers, in order to facilitate communication about their child’s progress.
Shea has been chosen to create a variety of district wide curricula and in-services for staff training, including Social Studies, Writing, Reading, Diversity, and Cultural Sensitivity.
For her plethora of accomplishments as an elementary school teacher, Shea O’Neill most certainly deserves the title of Teacher Who Rocks.
H&M Potter School
Tara O’Brien is a Third Grade Teacher at H&M Potter School (Bayville) Nominated by principal Andrea Cimino. Tara is an amazing teacher who works to individually reach all of her students every day. She is always looking for new and exciting ways to engage her learners. Over the years she has brought many amazing programs to her class and grade level including the Shoprite Young Consumers Program and Project Terrapin.
Tara is a resource for her colleagues as well, serving as a mentor to several teachers throughout the building. She is always going above and beyond to incorporate and share new innovating ideas. This year Tara also served as an integral member of the district's science curriculum writing committee.
In addition to ALL that she does within the classroom, Tara also is in charge of Project Starfish, which is an after school program for homeless and displaced students. She provides a constant support system for these students and helps them reach their maximum potential. Everyone H & M Potter School feels lucky to have Tara O'Brien as part of our family, and she is definitely a Teacher Who Rocks!
Joseph T. Donahue School
Nora Green teaches First grade teacher at Joseph T. Donahue school in Barnegat and was Nominated by fellow teacher Sue Mayo. Nora has been teaching for 16 years, and in that time completed her master’s degree and is currently working towards a post graduate certificate.
Nora has been teaching in the first grade intervention class for the last 5 years. She sets high expectations for her students, which often come to her struggling academically, especially in reading. Enter Nora’s classroom on any given day and you will see students fully engaged in learning. Her classroom is full of warmth, love, and caring. She knows her students on a personal level and makes sure her instruction can meet their needs.
Nora uses a variety of teaching resources, including many that she has created herself. She embraces technology in her classroom, and she never hesitates to share her ideas and insights with her colleagues. In fact, Nora is frequently seen in other classrooms helping others navigate programs.
She is always positive both with her students and her colleagues, making Nora Green without question a Teacher Who Rocks!
Lakewood Middle School
Morgan Toal, 8th grade English Teacher at Lakewood Middle School. Morgan receives the honor because of the leadership she shows her students and colleagues at school.
High expectations are set because that what sets achievement levels. Morgan knows the importance of those PARK tests but also knows that relating to students is crucial to their learning and growth.
Mrs. Toal’s colleagues appreciate her leadership when new technology becomes available as she’s likely to be the person to use the advancements successfully and can teach other teachers so they can use the technology as well.
Stephanie McClelland, a second grade teacher at Bayville School.
Her tiny basic skill's room is the envy of every staff member in the building. Each nook and cranny is set up in individual stations for her students to feel comfortable and confident in their daily assignments.
Stephanie’s calm, nurturing environment is only part of the reason for today’s honor. Her volunteer work is also what makes Mrs. McClelland special.
Her contributions to the yearly holiday celebration is huge. The 90th anniversary celebration probably wouldn’t have happened without her help. And even the first ever “Escape the School” night was a big success because of her work.
Red Bank Primary School
Nominated by fellow teacher Lucy Lakata and instructional assistant Paula Collins
Dedicated, hard-working, loving, kind, smart, energetic and confident are just a few of the words to describe Alyssa May.
Red Bank’s school population is at least 80% ESL (English as a second language) and below poverty level, which brings special challenges into the classroom that Mrs. May handles effortlessly. She creates a bridge to the family in the beginning of every school year and parents are welcomed into her classroom on a daily basis to volunteer, which means the world to her students. She is also the first one to rally when a student or fellow staff member is in crisis.
Alyssa is also an active leader with the school's PTO, helping to organize and run countless events during the school year, including bringing the Harlem Wizards to the district for the first time. Alyssa is also pursuing her doctorate in education at Rutgers, and for the past 2 years she has presented the kindergarten curriculum she co-wrote at a statewide conference focused on teaching children for whom English is not their first language.
She does all of these amazing things for her students while raising her own 10 year old and 4 year old, making Alyssa May is a Teacher Who Rocks.
Clara B. Worth Elementary
Nominated by principal Cara Burton, Michelle Speidel, a kindergarten teacher at Clara B. Worth Elementary for twelve years, finds creative ways to connect with her students and make learning fun!
In addition to all of the wonderful experiences Michelle provides to her students in the classroom, she has also contributed to school wide projects, district-wide committees, she serves as the club coordinator for CBW, and she volunteers on the School Improvement Panel.
Michelle has also earned a number of grants, including one which will allow for all kindergarten students at CBW to visit Popcorn Park Zoo in the spring. In conjunction with the field trip, Mrs. Speidel coordinated the “Help Us Help Them” drive which collects food, blankets, and pet care items for the animals at Popcorn Park Zoo.
As the co-chair of the school spirit wear committee, Michelle takes the lead on school spirit days which motivates every student and staff member to show their CBW pride. She is always willing to try something new, and her love of learning is contagious.
Always upbeat, positive, and ready to help in any way possible, Mrs. Speidel’s kindergarten students and colleagues agree that she is most definitely a Teacher Who Rocks!
Memorial Middle School
Anyone who knows Lauren Mattei, whether colleagues or students, will tell you that Laura is always the first to say, "If you need anything, I'm here," and she means it. Lauren is the kind of person who would go without so someone else can have something that they need or want-- a rare quality in our society. She includes others, acknowledging their opinions and ideas and has shown herself to be a leader among the staff at Memorial Middle School. She is truly "old school" in her thoughts and actions.
In addition to her classroom duties, Lauren is also the 8th grade advisor: organizing and leading a trip for all eighth graders to Washington DC for three days and coordinating all eighth grade commencement activities.
For the holiday season Mrs. Mattei gave her students an assignment to write something positive about each classmate. Then, unbeknownst to the students, she printed the responses and made an ornament for each child containing all of the things that their peers said about them. This is just a sample of Mrs. Mattei’s kindness & generosity.
Lauren Mattei is generous with both her time and spirit, making everybody feel like somebody, and her A Teacher Who Rocks!
Manchester Twp. Elementary School
When a student is having difficulty it’s Jessica’s job to get to the bottom of it. She is hard working; dedicated and committed to student success.
Mrs. Brosnan is so knowledgeable that she’s become a case manager for many intervention and referral students where she works tirelessly to help students overcome obstacles. Jessica knows how important it is to get learners on the right track early.
Jessica’s dedication to students goes well into her personal time as she has a lead role in the district’s Kevin’s Kids program which strives to make Christmas a reality for all kids.
For this program, she manages all of the referrals for families in need in the school district, maintaining a huge database of their specific needs. All of this above her normal responsibilities. Jessica Brosnan is absolutely a Teacher Who Rocks.
Red Bank Middle School
John has been a dedicated and committed teacher to the students at Red Bank Middle School for the past nine years. He greets his students every day with a smile, and he instills humor in all of his classes.
His students know that when they have a problem they can turn to Mr. Adranovitz to help them come-up with solutions. As an English Language Arts teacher, John uses the opportunity to teach students about empathy by sharing stories and life experiences. John’s mission is to encourage his students to be leaders who will make changes in our world.
John also works with the students as a Soccer coach, and instills good sportsmanship and fair play in their mindset. He is a mentor whom all of the boys turn to in times of need.
John is kind and compassionate to all of the staff. He arranges the Sunshine Club to make sure that all every member of the faculty is remembered for life events both good and bad. John also helps run the Spelling Bee, as well as any other activities that needs an enthusiastic MC.
John Adranovitz goes above and beyond daily for his students and his coworkers, making him a Teacher Who Rocks!
Southern Regional Middle School
Many days at Southern Regional Middle School begin with an email or announcement that goes something like “please ignore the smoke/loud bang/weird smell etc., Mrs. Line’s classes will be doing an experiment today.”
Sarah Line is the perfect example of what a middle school teacher should be. She brings science to life for her students with her hands-on style of teaching. Not a week goes by that Mrs. Line’s name isn’t brought up with a discussion of how cool science was that day. The excitement that she creates in her class only encourages the very serious learning happening on a very personal level for many students.
The hallmark project for Sarah’s classes each year is when she has students research a genetic disorder. The assignment involves students researching and presenting about the genetic disorder to the class. After hearing all the presentations, her students vote on which cause they would like to fundraise for. Sarah inspires her students to love science every day she teaches.
Sarah has also volunteered her time for various clubs over the years including Peer Leadership, The National Jr. Honor Society, and the Walk Fit Club. She has also worked with Alliance for a Living Ocean to help with the yearly ‘Beach Blitz’ cleanup to collect waste from the shores of Long Beach Island. She has used her own summer vacation time to take a single student to a STEM workshop at Stockton University and also figured out how to get a free field trip for over 200 students in our middle school.
Without question she is a student and staff favorite, and Sarah Line is truly a Teacher Who Rocks!
Berkeley Township Elementary School
Stacy Kakos has been in education for nearly sixteen years, recently changing schools within the Berkeley District. When the opportunity arose, without any hesitation she took the path that required more work, more time, and would be considered a challenge in any professional’s career. Her willingness to try something new and to completely move from her comfort zone are signs of a dedicated professional who truly cares about all children and families.
As guidance counselor at Berkeley Township Elementary, Stacy has spearheaded many activities that focus on students in need. She makes sure that her students are able to have a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal and that no child goes without a gift during the holiday season. When she becomes aware of a family in need, Stacy takes it upon herself to get them what is needed.
In addition to her duties as counselor, Stacy also does small group instruction, and at school assemblies she will speak to the kids about social skills, internet safety, study strategies, and coping with bullying. At her previous school, one of Stacy’s cornerstone projects was building a garden the school. She is now bringing this project to Berkeley Township Elementary, getting the students involved with the creating and maintaining an organic garden.
Mrs. Kakos selflessly goes above and beyond for everyone on a daily basis and comes to work with a smile on her face. She is always providing guidance for families in crisis or in need and she is someone who never complains. Stacy Kakos is more than deserving of this recognition as she is definitely a Teacher Who Rocks!
Central Regional Middle School
Beth Moore is not only a dynamic music teacher but also a talented choral director who is solely responsible for Central Regional students singing not only at Carnegie Square, but even at the White House. For over a decade Beth has worked tirelessly at producing and directing school musicals, and she plays a crucial role in directing vocals and playing music for the high school's large spring musical.
Beth spends countless hours working hard to promote and enhance the musical and vocal talents of Central Regional students and has the admiration and respect of all of her students. She creates new, innovative ways to engage her students as she coaches high school students to student-direct the middle school musical. This not only gives them valuable experience as directors, but allows them to understand the incredible feeling of having their imaginations come to life on stage.
In addition to her duties at school, Beth frequently plays in the orchestra at various shows all across the state, and she serves as an organist for her local church on a weekly basis. There are very few educators who can match her level of dedication, commitment, respect, and accolades. For all of these reasons and more, Beth Moore is definitely a Teacher Who Rocks
Lacey Township Middle School
The US Army’s Slogan is “Army Strong” and as a former member of the Air National Guard, Jeremy Leighty brings that slogan to his teaching every day at Lacey Township Middle School.
More than just the band director and chorus teacher at LTMS, Jeremy is a mentor.
Jeremy organizes band and chorus trips to Hersey Park and Great Adventure for Battle of the Bands, he takes students to NYC for concerts in the park, and he continually encourages the them to dream big so they can take their personal crafts to the next level.
Jeremy is quick to volunteer for activities ranging from student games to the staff biggest loser competition, but it’s during school pep rallies that Jeremy really shines as his musical direction makes every rally memorable!
There’s not a sible student or staff member who doesn’t know and respect Mr. Leighty, who was named Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018, and is also in the process of becoming a proud member of the New Jersey Army National Guard.
Jeremy Leighty is a leader, a mentor, a friend, and most definitely a Teacher Who Rocks!
Hazlet Middle School
Christine Orrico is a behaviorist with the district Child Study Team in Hazlet Township, and she is an in-class support special education teacher in Hazlet Middle School's seventh grade history classes. Christine is a knowledgeable, dedicated, and tireless advocate for children. She consistently goes above and beyond for students, making their middle school experience a positive one.
Christine is the go-to person in the building whenever there is a child in need. She truly believes that every child can learn, that every child deserves a chance, and that every child is valuable and important to our school community. She works hard to create behavior plans and implement interventions that help make the classroom experience positive for all students and teachers, with Christine’s colleagues looking to her for support on a regular basis.
This year Christine was instrumental in launching a brand new elective class designed to equip students with the important life skills they’ll need to be successful with independent living and obtaining a job.
She has spent countless hours preparing for this class, and you can see the true excitement in her eyes when she speaks about it, knowing she will be able to best prepare our students for success in high school and beyond.
Ms. Orrico ensures that the learning environment for her students is both challenging and supportive. She never allows students to give less than their best, while providing them all the resources they need to reach their maximum potential. The Hazlet Middle School team could not be any prouder to nominate Christine Orrico as a Teacher Who Rocks.