Find out which local educators are making the grade in classrooms throughout South Jersey.
We wanted to get a glimpse of South Jersey’s finest educators who know what it means to go above and beyond for their students and make learning exciting and engaging.
So we reached out to the many schools in our area, both public and private, and asked them to nominate teachers they felt not only set the bar high, but encouraged their students to repeatedly surpass it.
Parkway Elementary School
Anzek is a second-grade teacher who consistentlygoes above and beyond to create an impactful learning environment. She uses her free time before, during and after school to connect with students and meet with parents and administration officials to brainstorm ideas to help students reach their full potential. Anzek is seen as calm, present and reassuring when there’s an emergency and is a strong advocate for her students.
Cinnaminson High School
This business and computer science teacher is viewed as an invaluable asset to the school and has devoted her free time, including during the summer months, to developing a sequence of programming courses. Mulville was named the school’s 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year thanks to her penchant for pushing her students to succeed. She has also started new clubs and programs such as Cram Jam sessions, which help students prepare for exams, and the robotics club. Mulville has also participated in many committees including the Academic Affairs Committee, PD Committee and is a current member of the ScIP Committee.
Gloucester Catholic High School
This English and religion teacher acknowledges the importance of service and spirituality, two personal passions, in Gloucester Catholic’s mission, so instilling the two pillars creatively at the school comes easy. Through service learning Silber is able to take education out of the classroom so students can gain first-hand experience. She is also the coordinator for Gloucester Catholic’s service and retreat program and introduces spirituality during retreats whether that means learning about Latino culture, tackling subjects like racism and injustice or helping at Cathedral Kitchen. Collectively, students performed over 6,040 service hours last year.
Signal Hill School
Cole is a fourth-grade teacher who uses her role to encourage students to spread kindness and uplift others. To do so, she has developed and participated in numerous activities including 21 Days of Kindness in December and established awards to recognize students—most helpful, most improved, most thoughtful, etc. In addition, she uses a “weekly quote” to spotlight one student who demonstrates great actions and behaviors throughout the week. Cole has also assisted in the first family service night benefiting Cathedral Kitchen in Camden where parents and students made over 600 sandwiches for the emergency food provider. Cole also serves as a member on several committees such as the ScIP Committee, Innovation Committee, Husky Service Team and Husky Pride Committee.
Clearview Regional High School
Richard is an English teacher at Clearview and was a 2018-2019 nominee for the Princeton University Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching. He also has an English certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching standards, which has a goal to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and improve schools across the country. He is a member of Rowan Literacy Initiative Committee and volunteers for the National Council of Teachers of English.
Shawnee High School
Johnston has been a health and physical education teacher in the Lenape Regional High School District for 12 years. She has also dedicated eight of those years to coaching girls soccer, winter track and lacrosse. She is currently Shawnee’s teacher of the year because of her ability to build relationships with her students thanks to her enthusiasm and energy, but by also making students feel comfortable enough to learn and talk about sensitive topics. Not only does she encourage students to maintain a healthy lifestyle, she also promotes staff health through her Renegade Wellness Newsletter. Johnston is always looking to move the health curriculum forward and it shows through her collaboration with the Medford Police Department for an opioid prevention program in the district.
Lenape High School
This special education teacher has been at Lenape for 22 years and is acknowledged as teacher of the year. She works alongside geometry teachers to distinguish instructions for different learners in the classroom, making her an asset for both the special education and math departments. She is also an instructional leader at Lenape thanks to her involvement in the Lenape High School Peer Observation initiative and planning professional development at the school.
Cherokee High School
A few years ago, this English and humanities teacher was honored as the Burlington County Outstanding Woman of the Year in education and has since upheld her role in changing her students’ lives. Mayher is greatly involved in scholastic clubs and activities such as yearbook, cheerleading, basketball and was the host of one of the first Lenape District Television shows. She has a positive impact on students by sharing her love for language and literature and challenges the class on a daily basis to evaluate their lessons so they can develop into articulate writers and speakers.
Seneca High School
Seneca’s teacher of the year, Sherlock has demonstrated to both students and staff members that he always wants to learn new techniques when it comes to classroom education while engaging students through his passion of history. His ability to communicate effectively to students of different backgrounds and interests lets him act as a mentor by showing that he values his students’ thoughts and opinions. Sherlock is a leader in his department and can make those around him feel heard, important and empowered.
Moorestown Friends School Early Childhood Program
McVaugh is a preschool teacher in the Beginnings at MFS program. He has been an early childhood educator for over a decade and guides the youngest Moorestown Friends students through their first years of schooling. When it comes to leadership in the classroom, McVaugh realizes that young children model after what they see. So, in order to set a good example, he includes his students in the decision making about how to engage with learning and includes their ideas along with his own when writing curriculum.
Haddonfield Memorial High School
Almost 20 years ago, Smith began the environmental science program at Haddonfield Memorial and had only 13 students sign up. Since then, the program has grown into six sections including branching into college prep and AP courses. In these courses, students learn through observation and explore local woodlands, ponds and meadows to study themes in ecology and environmental science. Through two long-term science projects, students have counted hundreds of thousands of birds since 2004 and rescued tens of thousands of horseshoe crabs since 2012. Smith’s approach to learning through experience has had students educating younger classes, volunteering for conservation groups, conducting independence science studies and improving sustainability in the region. In the long run, Smith’s goal is for students to take action and apply what they’ve learned in his class in order to help make a difference in the world.
Fleetwood Elementary School
Siwiec, a fourth-grade teacher, has year in and year out shown the best student achievement results at the school. She is able to develop a connection with her young learners and their families to the extent that she attends their activities and events outside of school hours. Siwiec regularly displays a willingness to learn and apply new curriculum or teaching techniques and will gladly lend a hand when someone at Fleetwood is in need, be it a student or colleague.
Kingsway Regional High School
Recently named Kingsway’s teacher of the year, one of Ninan’s biggest accomplishments was developing the animal science course that allows students to shadow veterinary professionals at St. Francis Animal Hospital in Swedesboro. Because she demands the best from her students, she works hard to create a caring environment designed to help them thrive. Additionally, Ninan was recognized as Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Biology Teachers. She also received recognition at the National Science Teachers Association conference at The College of New Jersey as well as the conference in San Diego.
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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 12 (March 2019).
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