NPS Educators Recognized for Transformational Teaching

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22 teachers across the district celebrated for their effective and innovative instruction throughout the 2016-2017 academic year

School and district administrators, school board members, and other Newark community members celebrated the exceptional contributions made by 21 NPS educators at this year’s Teacher of the Year Breakfast. Photo Credit: Rob Salagaj

[Newark, NJ – June 8, 2017] Teachers from across the Newark Public School (NPS) district are being recognized for their important work with Newark students in recent weeks. On Friday, June 2, 21 teachers joined school and district administrators, school board members, parents, and additional Newark community members at Robert Treat Hotel for the 2017 NPS Teacher of the Year Award Breakfast, where the district celebrated each teacher’s contributions to Newark students and families throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to celebrate Newark’s exceptional educators and recognize each of them for their significant impact and achievements over the course of this school year,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “Our school community is incredibly grateful to have such hard working and committed teachers leading classrooms across our city, who continue to inspire students and their colleagues to strive for excellence on a daily basis. We value the outstanding work and service of each of these leaders to our students and families and congratulate each of them for their achievements.”

Teachers across the district were nominated as the highest performing teacher in their school by their principal based on their instructional excellence and preparedness, outstanding contributions to the classroom, school leadership, improvements toward the quality of education delivered to each of their students, as well as their individual accomplishments. A selection committee comprised of administrators, special assistants and HR leaders then reviewed the applications and essays submitted by each principal across the district and selected this year’s finalists. The following 20 NPS educators received a Teacher of the Year certificate at the breakfast and were also finalists for the 2017 “Newark Teacher of the Year” award:

  • Nancy Pais, Ann Street School
  • Marc Harris, B.R.I.C.K. Avon Academy
  • Cynthia Reeder-Thomas, B.R.I.C.K. Peshine Academy
  • Lori Donovan, Belmont Runyon School
  • Tameika Garrett-Ward, Camden Street School
  • Elizabeth Pecota, Chancellor Avenue School
  • Dina Stadnicki, Elliott Street School
  • Rasheedah Muhammad, First Avenue School
  • Daniel Lu, Harriet Tubman School
  • Nancy Francois, Lincoln Elementary School
  • Timothy Blackmon, Louise A. Spencer Elementary School
  • Rachael Safier Luis Munoz Marin School
  • Bernavela Valera, McKinley Elementary School
  • Marcela Palma, Miller Street School at Spencer
  • Vera Caetano, Oliver Street School
  • Alicia Wiltshire, Quitman Street Community School
  • Michelle Queirga, Rafael Hernandez Elementary School
  • Pamela Marolakos-Manfro, Ridge Street School
  • William Gaines, Speedway Academies
  • Amanda Grossi, Sussex Avenue Renew School

“We are so proud of the successes each teacher here today has achieved with their students,” said Larisa Shambaugh, Chief Talent Officer of Newark Public Schools. “Teachers often work without knowing the positive impact that they have on their students— but we know that our students stand on the shoulders of these great teachers. This recognition is just one way for us to tell our teachers that we see them – and the work they do for our students each and every day.”

Brian Klasner, a world history and financial literacy teacher to ninth and twelfth graders at East Side Big Picture Academy (ESBPA), a student-centered learning academy within East Side High School, was recognized as the 2017 “Newark Teacher of the Year” at the breakfast. Last month, Mr. Klasner was surprised by NPS Superintendent Cerf and other district leaders, who honored him with the 2017 “Newark Teacher of the Year” award. Mr. Klasner, who has taught at ESBPA for the past four years, earned a “Highly Effective Teacher” rating for the second year in a row and is currently in his seventh year of teaching. Additionally, another educator from East Side High School, Andrew Paulsen, who was chosen as Teacher of the Year at East Side High School for the 2015-2016 academic year, was recently selected as one of nine TNTP (The New Teacher Project) “Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice” finalists, out of approximately 5,000 applicants. Additionally, Mr. Paulsen was recently one out of approximately 35 U.S. citizens who were offered a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program grant.

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Klasner and Mr. Paulsen leading classrooms across East Side High School and appreciate their countless contributions to students and families,” said Dr. Mario Santos, Principal at East Side High School. “Their leadership inspires collaboration across our school, enabling our teachers to continue to improve the quality of education for each of our students.”