By ERIN ROLL
The Montclair school district paid tribute to 16 teachers and staff at last Wednesday evening’s board of education meeting.
The staff members had all been selected to receive the Governor’s Educator of the Year Certificate of Recognition.
“We have a talented, dedicated professional team here in the Montclair public school district,” Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said. “And our team works hard at putting students first.”
This week is National Teachers Appreciation week, and Tuesday, May 9, was National Teachers Appreciation Day.
Each staffer had been nominated for the certificate by their schools for their educational innovation, student achievement and service outside the classroom, Pinsak said. “Each of these teachers are engaging and articulate, they inspire students in all backgrounds and abilities to learn. They play an active role in the school as well as the community, and they have the respect of students, families, colleagues, and certainly the board of education.”
Each honoree was called up to the microphone to receive a certificate from Board President Jessica de Koninck and to shake hands with the board.
The audience included a number of the teachers’ families, and the parents of students.
The Educator of the Year program, according to the state Department of Education website, is a yearly event to honor exceptional teachers and educational services staff from across the state. This year, the deadline to nominate teachers for the honor was Jan. 6.
Each year, the program also chooses one staffer to be the state Educator of the Year, and county-level honorees are also chosen. These honorees act as liaisons between the NJDOE and the school communities.
“The award is an honor and a privilege because the nominations for the awards can be given by anyone in the community,” said Nisha Gandhi, a math teacher at Buzz Aldrin Middle School. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see that the hard work and dedication you work towards every day gets recognized and that people appreciate what you do.”
“I’ve been teaching 27 years and I still love what I do,” said Joyce Weeg, a science teacher at Montclair High School. “My whole goal is to make science seem both interesting and approachable for all students. The best compliment I get is when a student comes back from college and tells me they are majoring in biology because my class made them love science.”
The complete list of honorees:
Peter Bongiovanni (math/science teacher, grade 5, Hillside); Marcie Chanin (grade 2, Bradford); Nisha Gandhi (math teacher, Aldrin); Marcy Goff (student assistance counselor, Bradford); Satin Jordan (language arts, grade 6, Renaissance); Kari Kontoleon (grade 3, Bullock); Christine Langton (nurse, Bullock); Megan Matson (speech teacher, Watchung); Kristen McCann (grade 5, Northeast); Eva McGorry (nurse, Aldrin); Daniel O’Connor (grade K, Nishuane); Yvonne Shannon: (physical education teacher, Glenfield); Gerald Silvera (physical education teacher, Edgemont); David Steinke (psychologist, MHS); Joyce Weeg (science teacher, MHS); Amillah Williamson (student assistance counselor, Nishuane).