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We are proud to welcome the following teachers to the WDHA Teachers Who Rock Class of 2020!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS:

ESP’s OF THE YEAR

LINDA EVANIK & SHEILA MACALUSO
Main Office Secretaries at East Hanover Middle School
Nominated by Michael Calomino, Assistant Principal

Any administrator worth their salt knows that a building principal is only as good as their front office secretaries. They need to be smart, know where everything is, where everyone belongs, and know where you left that really important document that you had in your hand just a minute ago. The East Hanover Middle School secretaries, Ms. Evanik and Ms. Macalus, are like Batman and Robin as they rescue the school on a daily basis. They are multi tasking from the moment they arrive in the early morning until the moment they leave in the late afternoon. They are opening doors, answering phones, assisting students, calming anxious parents, and arranging staff meetings and gatherings. Furthermore, they are accomplishing these tasks with an almost inhuman pleasantness.

These two are the faces of the school, no one gets past them without a kind word and an informative response. The school would simply not be able to function without their constatnt reassuring presence and their warm enthusiasm and support for the entire community. For their loving care of East Hanover Middle School, we honor Ms. Evanik and Ms. Macalus as ESP’s Who Rock.


COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT AWARD WINNER FOR THE 2020 CLASS

The New Jersey Education Association, Sponsors of the Community Service Spotlight, is for Teachers Who Shine in their Communities, and in the Classroom. This year’s recipient is…

Ms. Andrea Danysh,
 PE & Health Teacher at Mount Arlington Public School

 

Mrs. Danysh, or Mrs. D as her students call her, makes such a positive and lasting impact on all her students and faculty she interacts with daily. She has a great sense of humor and can always be counted on for a laugh. Her poetry, song parodies, and teacher roasts at retirement dinners are laugh out loud funny. The students of Mount Arlington absolutely love being in her class and they always tend to seek her out if they are having a bad day. She is a genuine person who has been instrumental in guiding her students, especially through their middle school years. Mrs. Danysh has also played an integral part with the school district’s wellness and sustainable initiatives. She was solely responsible for acquiring funding for a hydration station, Power-Up bicycle program, fitness playground, and Nutritional Wellness Garden Program, which was awarded the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Farms to School Certification. Mrs. Danysh is an exceptional educator and one who truly epitomizes a Teacher who Rocks.


ANNE MARIE LENGNER
 5th Grade Teacher at Hillside Avenue School in Cranford

Ms. Lengner is the epitome of a dedicated educator. She is one of the most unassuming teachers on staff even though she is working at the top of her game, helping each and every student meet his or her individual potential, it will often go unnoticed because of her quiet and humble demeanor. Ms. Lengner is the child of teachers and joined Hillside Ave in the early 90s after briefly teaching at a catholic school. Having that background, she has always had a laser focus to understand what is most important in the education of students and even when the education tide changes, she is still able to focus on the basics, using creative ways to tap each child’s potential. Her classroom is filled with innovative centers for learning and is often filled with song as she uses music to motivate her young learners.

Ms. Lengner is the fifth grade teacher who is consistently given the fifth grade students who are the neediest. Her class is always filled with students whose IEP’s state their needs in both emotional and educational adaptations. Many of these students are among the most challenging in the school yet, Ms. Lengner never blinks an eye as she finds new and creative ways to reach each and every one.

Ms. Lengner welcomes new faculty and those in need into her classroom allowing them the time to watch how her classroom runs and offering to meet on her own time to be sure each of them feels secure in their new career. She cares deeply about the whole child and wellbeing of all of her students. This is all done quietly and unassuming and because of her greatness and humbleness, we honor Ms. Lengner as a Teacher Who Rocks.


JOSEF ELLIS
Music Teacher At Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights
Nominated by Laurie Liming, parent

Mr. Ellis’ love of his career is evident in his passion for his student’s success. He is energetic and motivated and you’ll be sure to always hear an upbeat tempo coming from his classroom. During school concerts, Mr. Ellis makes sure to be inclusive with a sign language interpreter on stage. He also instills confidence in his students, often encouraging them to try out for select bands.

Mr. Ellis honors the individuality of his students and encourages them to take musical risks. He is always gracious to the band parents and is the teacher that students go to when in need.  Mr. Ellis always exudes joy and has a wide smile on his face when conducting his musicians. For his ability to push students to take risks and push themselves outside of their comfort zone, we honor Mr. Ellis as a Teacher Who Rocks.


NICOLE GILLAN
1st Grade Teacher at Catherine A Dwyer Elementary School in Wharton
Nominated by: Mili Maness, re-tired teacher mentor

 

Ms. Gillan is an outstanding role model for self-truth, honesty, and integrity. She is a cooperative, creative, and flexible teacher who participates in all school, family, and community goals. She is an educator who takes seriously her responsibility to instill an appreciation for education and its benefits in her students, school, and community. Ms. Gillan’s many achievements are evidence that she shines brightly as an outstanding teacher and not only rocks but is the rock, or foundation for many of the projects and activities that she spearheads. She understands her goals an objectives and how to achieve them. She has worked closely with staff members to enrich teaching strategies and enhance staff development. As a lifelong learner, she has taken many graduate courses including English as a Second Language, teacher of children with disabilities and currently is enrolled in a Master’s program for Educational Leadership.

Ms. Gillan has received many grants including S.T.E.A.M. boxes, coding, executive functioning, flexible seating, reading with dog therapy, and grants to enhance her curriculum in math and language arts. In addition to grants, she has secured many programs for school wide participating including the NY Jets Stomp Out Bullying, NJ Jackals Hit the Books Program, Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Performers, Bayer Science in the classroom, Junior Achievement High School Heroes, and NJEA Cat in the Hat. Ms. Gillans many outstanding qualities were recognized by her peers who voted her as Teacher of the Year in only her fourth year of teaching. Through the many advantages that she provides to her school, we honor Ms. Gillan as a Teacher Who Rocks.


JULIE OGDEN
6th Grade Science Teacher at Woodcliff Middle School
Nominated by Fred Maltzan, Network Administrator

Whether it is teaching Newton’s Laws by gliding students on a homebuilt hovercraft, exploring space through partnerships with NASA, or discovering the intricacies of eco-systems by getting knee high in mud, Ms. Ogden is a teacher who makes science come alive for children.  She is also a two time winner for excellence in science teaching as well as a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching

Ms. Ogden always strives to help her student’s be the best they can be not only in science but in the world as well. She volunteers much of her time to help students with community service projects, especially those related to environmental causes or helping animals. Many of the students return to her years after their graduation to seek her help in starting projects for the betterment of the community. To show her students what a difference they can make in the world, she facilitates an animal rescue club that has been featured in many of the local papers as well as garnishing national attention for their achievements. For these efforts she has been recognized as a Point of Light Volunteer.

Ms. Ogden’s role as a facilitator does not end with the students.  She is a supporter and cheerleader for all of her co-workers.   As a team leader for 17 years , she makes sure that all of her co-workers get acknowledged and recognized for the good that they do in the school. Ms. Ogden has made a major impact on the lives of her students, her co-workers, and even animals in her community and for that, we honor her as a teacher who rocks.


LUCY LEE
Chinese Language Teacher at Livingston High School
Nominated by Mary Curran, Director of Local-Global Partnerships

Ms. Lee is an exceptional Chinese Teacher who is beloved by her students at Livingston High School. She has worked with colleagues to prepare a generation of Chinese Language teachers who have a deep understanding of standards-based education, and has worked tirelessly in the field of Chinese Language teaching not just in New Jersey, but throughout the United States and Internationally. Ms. Lee already has some amazing accomplishments in her career. She was:

  • The 2012 NECTFL Teacher of The Year
  • The 2013-14 NJ County Teacher Of The Year
  • A teacher educator at both Rutgers and William Patterson.
  • A Chinese Teacher at Seton Hall and Drew for many years.
  • A Co-Author of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools Professional Standards for K-12 Chinese Language Teachers
  • Co-Chair for the national project on the standards for K-12 Chinese Learners
  • A Two Term President of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools
  • A Director on the board for the Chinese Language Teachers Association
  • An appointee to the New Jersey International Education Taskforce

And much more. For her outstanding achievements both in New Jersey and throughout the country helping spread Chinese Language Education, we honor Ms. Lee as a Teacher Who Rocks.


DANIELLE KOLDYK
5th Grade Teacher at Lincoln Park Middle School
Nominated by: Michael Meyer, Principal

Mrs. Koldyk has experienced Lincoln Park Middle School as both a student and a teacher. She is a resident of the community who is actively involved. Mrs. Koldyk is the longest tenured 5th grade teacher in the school and serves as an unofficial liaison for her team with the administration. She has taught all of the core subjects, but science is her strength. Mrs. Koldyk develops and implements engaging, hands-on learning experiments for her studetns. She has brought in wild mushrooms when her class was studying fungi and provided sand and water to help them study erosion. Mrs. Koldyk also wrote a grant that allowed the school to purchase and build a tank for a bearded dragon. Lincoln the Dragon is now 18 inches long and is the unofficial mascot for the school. She works with a small group of students before school each day to care for Lincoln and over the breaks, he goes on vacation to Mrs. Koldyk’s home.

Her strengths go beyond science as well. Each year, Mrs. Koldyk and her colleagues in the 5th grade assign their students to read a biography of a famous person they find interesting. As a culminating activity, the entire 5th grade hosts an interactive wax museum for parents to visit. Each student dresses up as the subject of their biography, including props and a poster. When a visitor steps on the “button” before each character, the student recites biographical information about themselves. While the personalities change from year to year, Jane Goodall, Elvis Presley and Derek Jeter usually make an appearance at this popular event.

Each fall, Mrs. Koldyk serves as the field hockey coach, a position she has held for nearly her entire teaching career. As a former field hockey player in both middle school and high school, Mrs. Koldyk is passionate about the sport and serves as a role model for the girls on her team, most of whom go on to play in high school.

Mrs. Koldyk is an extremely caring and compassionate teacher and for all she does in and out of the classroom, we honor her as a Teacher Who Rocks!


VALERIE MUNRO
Media Specialist at Hillview School in Pompton Plains
Nominated by: Patricia Bellas, Co-Teacher

Mrs. Munro is a teacher who fosters a lifelong love of reading for students and makes their years at Hillview memorable. In addition to teaching engaging lessons in the media center, Mrs. Munro plans schoolwide activities at Hillview School.  Every November, the library is transformed into election headquarters with voting booths and ballots for the students to vote for their favorite books, character, or author.  In January, Mrs. Munro organizes the Martin Luther King Jr. assembly in which students experience the March on Washington complete with students reciting the I Had a Dream Speech that Mrs. Munro challenges them to memorize. However, the highlight of the year is Read Across America Week. The school is decorated in preparation for Dr. Seuss’s birthday, guest readers recite Dr. Seuss books, and students enjoy a snack in the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe.

In addition to these activities, Mrs. Munro also invites students to school in the evening for the Bookwormy program. Kindergarten student dress in pajamas for bedtime with Bookwormy and students in grades 1-5 also have programs based on a book they have read in class. She also goes above and beyond matching activities to books being read by the students, including having a live owl visit following the 3rd grade class reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  

Mrs. Munro has invited several authors to Hillview including Will Mara, Dusti Bowling, Dan Gutman, Elvira Woodruff, and Donna Jo Napoli. Students love the opportunity to meet and join the authors for lunch. Mrs. Munro coordinates the Creativity club, chess club, and safety patrols. She also head up the project-based program that teaches kids in the 5th grade how to start their own business and the Hillview Talent Show. In addition to being an outstanding media specialist, Mrs. Munro is a successful published children’s author, teacher, lyricist and composer, public speaker, and crafter.
With everything that Mrs. Munro does for the Hillview School, how could we not honor her as a Teacher Who Rocks?  


JOE MASROPIETRO
Principal at Hasbrouck Heights Middle School
Nominated by Michael Binazeski, Teacher

Mr. Mastropietro is now the Principal at Hasbrouck Heights Middle School but he was originally a math teacher who had unique ways to make his class fun. Instead of the regular bookwork, dittos, and tests, he came up with exciting projects like designing a shopping mall using such math skills as area, volume, cost, dimensional analysis, design skills, etc. Students looked so forward to his class each year that students anxiously looked at their schedules to see if they were lucky enough to have him that year for math class.

Mr. Mastropietro then got his principal’s license and took the position of middle school principal. To say that he made the school better is an understatement. Parents and students are beyond thrilled with having him as their principal and they look forward every day to seeing him greet every student at the car drop off. You can always see him smiling and saying hi to each student by name and asking how their weekend was and if their sports team did well. He truly cares for the students and staff and strives to make it a fun learning environment for all. His vast knowledge of teaching helps as an administrator when the staff has a question since he can see both sides of the question and guides the staff in his own, unique way. He has taken all his years of being a teacher and blossomed into an amazing principal that everyone in Hasbrouck Heights is proud to say is theirs. For all that he has accomplished to this point for his school, we honor Mr. Mastropeitro as a Teacher Who Rocks.


JOSHUA BELARDO
4th Grade teacher at Hillview Elementary School
Nominated by: Kristin Tartaglia, Co-Teacher

Mr. Belardo exemplifies the best of what we expect to see in the teaching profession. His dedication and commitment are extraordinary, as are his skills as a teacher. A dedicated, hardworking individual of exceptional character, he has a wonderful rapport with the students and dedication to his position as teacher on many occasions. He is collaborative with his co-workers and is dedicated to integrating new technology and new curriculums across all subject areas, most importantly reading, writing, and mathematics. Mr. Belardo always keeps his composure and amazing work ethic, even when dealing with the most challenging students, including the integration of resource students into the mainstream classroom each year. To this end, his collaboration with special education and resource teachers provides a seamless and effective educational experience for all students. He has distinguished himself as a committed professional and member of the Hillview School community, always rising to take on responsibilities for school-wide projects such as running the science fair with well over a hundred participants, working on various district committees, and teaching Title I and Enrichment programs throughout the year. Mr. Belardo is extremely knowledgeable in terms of technology and never fails to help fellow teachers when the need arises to not only embrace, but to master new programs and technologies as they become available.

Mr. Belardo is a warm and generous individual who can always be counted on to support family, friend, and co-workers in and out of school. He continues to volunteer his time and expertise as vice-president of the Sandyston-Walpack, NJ school board, as well as coach lacrosse for his daughters’ teams. For being such a strong asset to the Hillview Elementary School team, we honor Mr. Belardo as a Teacher Who Rocks.


BILL CHADWICK
Special Education Teacher at Sparta High School
Nominated by: Dorothy Talty, Co-Teacher

Mr. Chadwick always has a wity story to tell in his Sparta High School classroom to help students relate to the current topic. He has the ability to read the faces of his students to know when to clarify and expand directions. He is also a teacher to his colleagues and teaches them about the different programs that they can use in their classroom including Poll Everywhere, No Red Ink, Kahoot, and Google Classroom.

Despite the fact that Mr. Chadwick was displaced from his home because of a fire in August of last year, he still came to work every day with a smile on his face and a lesson to teach. Students relate to him on many levels and he is always there to guide them on the right path both academically and socially. Mr. Chadwick became a special education teacher after learning about some of the special needs his own son had and wanted to understand how to best help him and other students like him. He is kind and compassionate with all students regardless of their particular needs.

Mr. Chadwick is involved in youth group leadership outside of school providing gifts at Christmas for needy families and gift cards for holiday meals as well. He is well liked by students and his colleagues and he is always looking to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Mr. Chadwick is active on the Special Olympics Committee at school and is always willing to lend a hand for any endeavor that helps another human. For his ability to see the needs of his students and for being a true champion for those with special needs, we honor Mr. Chadwick as a Teacher Who Rocks.


SUZANNE HERBST
School Nurse & Distruct Head Nurse at Sandshore Elementary School in Budd Lake
Nominated: Tracy Church, Teacher

Ms. Herbst is the ultimate school nurse; she not only takes care of the students, but also takes care of the staff of her school too. She supports student success by providing health care through assessment, intervention, and follow-up for all within a school setting. Ms. Herbst addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs of students and supports their achievement in the learning process. This is a critical part in education that is often overlooked by test scores and data. Each day she provides care to the students, teachers lessons on health care, contacts parents, administrators, and teachers, completes annual assessments, provides necessary medicines, updates critical information such as contact information and expired medicines along with numerous other school needs.

Ms. Herbst supports the school staff by sharing important health information about stress levels, heart health, and general well-being. She provides a variety of immunizations in the teacher’s room for the staff including flu shots.  She runs weight loss competitions and encourages the staff to be their best. She is also a listening and supportive ear to all of her colleagues.

Ms. Herbst is the link between home, school, and the Mt. Olive community when it comes to the health and well-being of the students.  Students today may face family crises, homelessness, immigration, poverty, and violence, which increase both their physical and mental health needs. School nurses perform a critical role within the school health program by addressing the major health problems experienced in today’s society.

Along with her very busy job as school nurse, she is also the Head District Nurse. She coordinates all in district nursing staffing needs and nursing coverage for trips.  She provides all the professional development and training opportunities.  She also contacts supply vendors to obtain quotes for all district nursing needs. Ms. Herbst coordinates the annual district nursing services plan and is the nurse liaison to the board of education.
School nurses are an essential component to the health and well-being of students, particularly those with acute and chronic health conditions.  Suzanne’s skills allow her to assist students with specific medical needs which allows these students the opportunity to attend school and learn along with their peers. For her dedication to the health and well-being of her school community, we honor Ms. Herbst as a Teacher Who Rocks.


SEAN KELLEY
7th Grade Math and Inclusion teacher at Mount Olive Middle School
Nominated by: Jamie Greifenberger, Special Ed Teacher/Co-Teacher

Mr. Kelley develops high expectations for his students both inside and outside of the classroom. He serves as a positive role model and even students who do not have Mr. Kelley as a teacher love coming to him as a coach for soccer, basketball, and intramural sports. He never hesitates to step in and work with students, whether it is in the classroom or on the field. He will even go beyond that, often helping out students with many aspects of their life including valuable skills like learning how to tie a tie. Because of this, his students constantly show success at Mount Olive Middle School. As a teacher who is beloved by both his colleagues and his students, we honor Mr. Kelley as a Teacher Who Rocks and welcome him to the class of 2020.


VALERIE CURRAIS
Science Teacher at Central Middle School
Nominated by: Karen Bissett, Certified School Nurse

Mrs. Currais’s classroom is engaged each and every day because she is a teacher who truly loves her job. She makes her students day by connecting with them and letting them know that they are acknowledged, important, and welcome in Mrs. C’s Science / STEM classroom. She model’s that it is okay to laugh at yourself, take risks, try something new, and make mistakes.

Mrs. Currais’ patience, support, compassion, and really-funny sense of humor have endeared her to her students. One of her 7th grade students shared, “she’s a really smart, independent woman.” While another said “she’s really nice. She helped me when I didn’t understand.” She has been teaching for 5 years and joined the staff at Central Middle School just this past summer. Mrs. C quickly became a part of the CMS family because she is a true team-player, ready to lend a hand, or an ear. Her giant smile, warm hello, and abundant positivity always leave her colleagues and students smiling and because of this, we honor her as a Teacher Who Rocks.


RICHARD LUTTENBERGER
English Teacher at Morris Knolls High School
Nominated by: Jason Collinsworth, English Teacher

Mr. Luttenberger, or “Lutt” as the students call him, is a students’ teacher. He immerses himself into everything school related. He single handedly rebuilt the schools TV Production Program to a thriving elective. Lutt is often times staying up to the wee hours of the morning planning his lessons to reach all students. He completed a documentary for the school called, The Helmet, which traces Morris Knolls High School’s first ever football championship.

One of Lutt’s favorite times of the year is Halloween where he has dressed up and won multiple costume awards for playing Pee Wee Herman, Elvis, and Mr. T to name a few. He has coached the school’s baseball team, and ran various summer camps for the community. For being the type of teach who makes his classroom fun, creative, and engaging, we honor Mr. Luttenberger as a Teacher Who Rocks.


MYLES HART
9th-12th Grade History Teacher at Irvington High School
Nominated by: John Taylor, Athletic Director

Mr. Hart has served as a history teacher at Irvington High School for the last six years educating students with a variety of classifications including autism, emotional disturbance, attention deficit disorder, and processing disorders. He was not assign to teach these students, but volunteered to do so. Mr. Hart works diligently with child study team members, paraprofessionals, and educational specialists to ensure he is meeting the accommodations for each students, and to update their progress with the necessary parties. This creates an enormous amount of paperwork the he must complete each day to track a student’s progress, create alternative assessments, and denote differentiation strategies on lesson plans, but you’ll never hear Mr. Hart complain. He takes on these duties because he sees the need to provide a ideal classroom environment where students can feel safe, learn, and improve in their learning outcomes.

Due to his efforts, Mr. Hart has been named an Irvington Public School Distinguished Teacher the last four years. Mr. Hart takes on other roles outside the classroom, including senior class advisor, homecoming coordinator, and national honor society advisor. In 2018, he received the Academic Coach of the Year award from the Irvington Athletic Department for his Bowling Team having the highest Team GPA among all the athletic programs at Irvington High. Due to Mr Hart’s efforts, this year Irvington High has separate boys and girl bowling teams, with the girls winning their first match in December. In 2019, Mr. Hart also became the Freshman girl volleyball coach to ensure that everyone who wanted to participate in the sport could. Not knowing the sport, he reached out to numerous coaches and even joined an adult volleyball league to learn strategies and coaching methods. In 2020, Mr. Hart will add to his athletics background by becoming an assistant coach for the baseball team. For his work in the classroom and on the court, we honor Mr. Hart as a Teacher Who Rocks.


ANGELA MELOGRANO
K-12th Grade Art Teacher from Essex Campus Academy
Nominated by: Jil DeMasi, Director

Innovative, compassionate, one of a kind, Ms. Melograno is an outstanding art teacher who integrates literacy, math, history, and science skills in her instruction of intriguing and fantastic projects. She takes the unmotivated and disinterested student on a journey of creation and adventure. Students are riveted by stories of art history and the lives of artists.

Along the way, Ms. Melograno pushes students to learn new vocabulary and skills that extend beyond her discipline. She works as a team with her colleagues to make learning exciting and thematic. You hear students say “ahh” and “yes I can” in her classroom. They understand the connections of art to many disciplines. Failure is invited as a learning experience and self-evaluation and growth is part of the learning process. Decision making practice is a life skill that is important to her students who have met with special challenges in school and their personal lives. The results from Ms. Melograno’s instruction are the student work that adorns the halls. She instills the qualities of perseverance, determination, confidence, and pride in her students.

Ms. Melograno goes above and beyond to appreciate her students. She prepares and presents opportunities and celebrations to show her love and care for each and every student. She volunteers so many hours beyond the day to create learning experiences that will be remembered forever. She is a special teacher who will leave an indelible mark on the lives of many students which makes her a WDHA and WMTR Teacher Who Rocks.


LEE ANN NEWLAND
9-12th grade Music Teacher at Teackneck High School
Nominated by: Janice Dowd, Retired Administrator

Ms. Newland, a dedicated music teacher and band director at Teaneck High School, is a champion for music education in the Teaneck schools. They treasure her dedication and always return to visit her after they leave high school. They keep her informed about their activities and return to play with the band, event when they are no longer studying music or are pursuing a professional career. They show their love by keeping in touch with her years after graduation. Ms. Newland works tirelessly to help them master difficult music but also shows them a great deal of love and caring. She goes out of her way to look for donations or speak with local merchants to ensure that students have the right equipment to take them to the next level of musicianship.

Ms. Newland encourages students to perform with all groups, both in and out of school. Roughly 14 years ago, she created a summer music camp that is associated with the New York Gramercy Brass Orchestra. Every summer students have a free, two-week brass band experience where they are afforded the opportunity to play with many talented professional musicians. Students receive free scholarships so that they can attend the camp and learn from these gifted musicians. At the end of the two weeks, the orchestra, including students from Teaneck, and neighboring towns, put on a two-hour concert that features exciting and popular music. Ms. Newland is so generous of her time and talents that she not only provides top-notch instruction to her students in school but arranges for them to have an additional opportunity to learn from the best musicians in the field. For being fostering growth in music education, we honor Ms. Newland as a WDHA and WMTR Teacher Who Rocks.

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