BY PATRICIA KELLER WEST MILFORD - Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alex Anemone announced the 2019 Teachers of the Year and Educational Professionals of the Year for each of the eight schools in the West Milford Township Public School district at the Jan. 22 Board of Education meeting. According to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), the New Jersey Teacher of the Year Program and the Governor's Teacher/Educational Services Professionals Recognition Program have been integrated into the Governor's Educator of the Year Program. This updated program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success. As per the NJDOE, the purpose of this recognition program is to acknowledge the state’s best teachers and educational services professionals. “The New Jersey Department of Education is committed to recognizing and rewarding the excellence achieved by New Jersey educators and schools,” the department said on its website. “Within the Office of Recruitment, Preparation, and Recognition, our work on recognition will continue to focus on aligning educator evaluation and support systems with opportunities for acknowledgment and appreciation. As educators are recognized through a variety of national and state programs each year, we will continue to keep clear lines of communication open with these educators in order to inform them of and seek their participation in statewide and national initiatives. We also intend to implement a statewide effort to highlight all of the many contributions effective educators make to their students, schools, and communities.” How it works Judging panels at each of the individual schools review applications and select one exceptional candidate to represent their school as Teacher of the Year and another as their Educational Professional of the Year. All school Title winners then represent their schools and district as they compete for District and County titles. A County panel of judges selects one winner from each of the twenty-one Counties to represent their County in competition for the State Titles, and then each of the State Winners compete for the National titles.Educational Services Professional of the Year Enrollment AreasIn order to be eligible to compete for the title of Educational Services Professional of the Year, nominees must be classified as one of the following:• Anti-Bullying Specialist • Athletic Trainer• Mathematics Specialist/Mathematics Coach• Basic Skills Teacher • Paraprofessional (Instructional only)• Behavior Specialist • Reading Specialist/Reading Coach • Cooperative Education Coordinator/ Hazardous Occupations • School Nurse • School Occupational Therapist • Director of School Counseling Services/Child Study Team• School Physical Therapist • School Social Worker • Educational Interpreter (Cued Speech, Transliteration, Oral Interpreting, Sign Language Interpreting)• Speech Language Specialist • Student Assistant Coordinator• Technology Coach• Guidance / School Counselor• Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC)• Library Media SpecialistIn addition to the above, each nominated candidate must be an “Effective” or “Highly Effective” educator that meets all of the following eligibility requirements:• Be an exceptionally skilled and dedicated (licensed, if applicable) Educational Services Professional (ESP) who is listed as one of the eligible enrollment areas• Must have a (prior year) summative rating of at least effective; if the teacher or the ESP has not received a summative rating at the time of application, then their practice rating should be at least effective or the equivalent• Be an expert in the field who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn• Actively collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a strong culture of respect and success• Demonstrate leadership and innovation in educational activities at the school, district and/or state and national levels that take place both within and outside the school setting• Have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues• Have not earned the title of school or County Teacher of the Year nor ESP of the Year for the past five (5) yearsThe duties of award recipient(s) are to get involved to help shape education policies that influence classrooms and schools; thus, it was noted that there is no minimum number of in-the-classroom years required. However, as an ambassador for education, the nominees should be invested in the profession for at least five years. West Milford’s Top Educational Service Professionals The West Milford Township Public Schools Educational Service Professionals of the Year (by school) are:West Milford High School-David Gerold, Instructional Aide: Special Class AideEight years in the Education field, all in the West Milford Township Public School District“It is a great and unexpected honor. I really feel that I just do my job and there are many others who also deserve this award.”Macopin Middle School-Tracy Gencarelli, LDTC, Special Education: Learning Consultant, Macopin School Child Study Team30 years in the Education fieldFive years in West Milford (fourth year at Macopin Middle School)“The staff at Macopin Middle School create an atmosphere of professionalism, enthusiasm, and a genuine desire to want the best for all students. Being part of that and being recognized as the ESP is an absolute honor.”Apshawa Elementary School-Rosemary Jansen, Instructional Aide: Special Class Aide, Behavioral Disabilities Class20 years teaching15 years in West Milford (12 years Behavioral Disabilities Class)“I am extremely fortunate to be able to work in the behavioral Disabilities class for the last 12 years. It is an honor to have been chosen by my colleagues as ESP of the year. I enjoy being able to work with such wonderful students and colleagues. Apshawa school is an amazing place to work.”Marshall Hill Elementary School-Christine Genardi-Fisher, Remedial: Encore Teacher14 years in the Education fieldSix years in West Milford “I am honored to receive this award from my colleagues, and grateful to have to unending support of my Marshall Hill family.”Maple Road Elementary School-Joann Ayres, Instructional Aide: Special Class AideSix years Substitute Teaching in the WMTPS DistrictSeven years as a Special Class Aide (Maple Road School)“I feel honored and humbled to be recognized by my colleagues for this award. To work along side such great teachers and not only call them my colleagues but my friends as well. I love my Maple Road family and thank God for being able to make a difference in the lives of children everyday.” Paradise Knoll Elementary School-Dana McConnell, Instructional Aide: Special Class Aide17 years in the Education field14 years in West Milford“I am very honored and humbled to be named Educational Services Professional of the Year. Working with students is something I love and I feel very grateful to work with amazing teachers at Paradise Knoll School.”Upper Greenwood Lake Elementary School-Jennifer Wallin, M.A., CCC-SLP: Speech-Language SpecialistEight years as a SLP in schoolsSix years in West Milford“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as the ESP by my colleagues. I work with an amazing staff at UGL, Speech-Language Pathologists and Child Study Team!”Westbrook Elementary School-Meghan Donegan, Speech/Literacy Specialist23 years in Education Field 23 years in West Milford; (12 years as Reading Specialist, 11 years teaching first grade)“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award from my fellow colleagues. Westbrook is a collaborative and supportive family that I am blessed and grateful to be a part of.”For more information about NJ educators recognition programs, visit www.state.nj.us/education/educators/rpr/recognition/.