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District recognizes state educator of the year nominees

Awards committee made up of Haddonfield district staffers

On Thursday, Jan. 13, the Haddonfield School District’s Board of Education recognized the eight finalists who had been nominated for the Governor’s Educator of the Year award. From left to right are Superintendent Chuck Klaus, nominees Patty Abbate, Holly Maiese Daria Resnick, Kelliann Haney, Michael Hecker, and Board President Jaime Grookett. Recipients not pictured include Merced Valenzuela, Stephanie DelFico, and Katy Roussos. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

The Haddonfield School District’s Governor’s Educator of the Year committee announced eight finalists for its state teacher’s award at a recent Haddonfield board of education work session.

Close to 80 submissions for the award came from the community in October, with some candidates voted on more than once.

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The Educator of the Year committee is made up of Kimberly Dewrell, Tatem principal; teacher Rachael Gould; Tracy Matozzo, the high school’s Principal, Tammy McHale; Colleen Murray, the district’s chief academic officer; and Kimberly Dickstein Hughes, a teacher and the first Governor’s Educator of the Year from Haddonfield. 

Award finalists include the following district staffers:

  • Merced Valenzuela, buildings and grounds
  • Patty Abbate high school attendance office educational assistant 
  • Stephanie DelFico, Tatem educational assistant 
  • Holly Maiese, high-school English teacher
  • Daria Resnick, high-school math teacher and middle-school math facilitator
  • Michael Hecker, music teacher
  • Katy Roussos, Elizabeth Haddon Elementary ELA specialist and fifth grade facilitator
  • Kelliann Haney, Tatem first grade teacher

“There’s a lot of communities where teachers are taken for granted; this is not one of them,” Superintendent Chuck Klaus said at the board session. “I think [the number of nominees] says a lot about the nominations, the people here honored tonight and the people honored. It’s a wonderful thing.”

To be nominated, teachers have to meet all requirements of the state contest: They include being an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educator, inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn and demonstrating leadership and innovation inside and outside the classroom.

Following their nominations, applicants can apply for a county level honor that will make them eligible for the governor’s award.

Now 50 years old, the award is sponsored by the New Jersey School Board Association, Educational Testing Service, New Jersey Education Association and the National Teacher of the Year Program.


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