HomeHaddonfield NewsNine Haddonfield School District staffers named governor’s top educators

Nine Haddonfield School District staffers named governor’s top educators

Winners can apply to be recognized at the county level

The Haddonfield School District has announced nine winners of the Governor’s Educator of the Year and Educational Support Person of the Year awards.

The district began collecting nominations in October and received more than 200, a sharp increase from last year, when close to 80 were submitted.

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“Students can nominate, parents can nominate, community members, educators, their colleagues – it’s really a collaborative effort and all different stakeholders have a voice in celebrating a teacher or an education service professional,” said Haddonfield Memorial High School teacher Kimberly Dickstein Hughes, who was Educator of the Year in 2020.

Each school had its own awards committee made up of educators, administrators, community members and parents and used a rubric provided by the state Department of Education to make the selection. The winners were kept secret until they were personally visited by Superintendent Chuck Klaus, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gino Priolo and school principals who let them know they had won. 

Each school could select up to two winners, one for Educator of the Year and one for Educational Support Person of the Year. This year’s winners are: 

  • Leigh Anne Gaffney: Central Elementary teacher, grade 3
  • Barbara O’Shaughnessy: Central Elementary educational assistant 
  • Miranda Yaniak: Haddon Elementary teacher, grade 3
  • Sophie Nelson: media specialist at Haddon and Tatem elementary
  • Mary Hall: Tatem Elementary teacher, grade 5
  • Michele Barranger: Haddonfield Middle School nurse
  • Daneen Scott: Haddonfield Middle special education teacher
  • Ron Smith: Haddonfield High science teacher
  • Steven Fluharty: Haddonfield High counselor

The teachers and educational support staff were also recognized in the district newsletter where statements from each awardee’s nomination forms were shared. Teachers were praised for adapting new teaching strategies; for proactive support of struggling students; for meeting both learning and emotional needs; for spreading positivity and helping students feel valued; and for their knowledge and caring.

Educators of the Year have the option of applying for the award on the county, then state level. 

“You can’t live your life for thank-yous as an educator,” Dickstein Hughes noted. “Oftentimes,  much of the work that we do day in and day out goes unnoticed, and being recognized as Educator of the Year is a moment of recognition where we can be celebrated and applauded by our community and embraced for that work.

“Being named Educator of the Year is a reflection of all that we do and something that I think is very true of Haddonfield School District,” she added. “ … We work among hundreds of educators of the year, and over the course of this program, many educators who are deserving will be recognized. 

“We’re really just at the beginning stages of building that culture of celebration around education.”

Priolo said a larger recognition of this year’s awardees is planned for January. More information about each of them can be found on the district newsletter, at




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