TRENTON, NJ – Viktoria Wargo, a Special Needs teacher at Triangle Elementary School in Hillsborough, has been named 2018-19 Somerset County Teacher of the Year by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Wargo and teachers selected in each of the the state’s 21 counties were recognized for their achievement in an awards ceremony at Jackson Memorial High School, Jackson, NJ.
“I am honored to recognize the 2018-2019 County Teachers of the Year,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “These 21 educators exemplify the outstanding level of talent and commitment that exists in New Jersey’s public schools. Their hard work and dedication is a critical part of making our state’s public education system one of the best in the country and creating a life-long love of learning for New Jersey’s students.”
“Our greatest resources in public education are our educators,” said Lamont O. Repollet, state Education Commissioner. “Here in New Jersey, we are blessed to have many brilliant educators, and these 21 who are being recognized as County Teachers of the Year are emblematic of the quality of instruction that we see throughout the Garden State.”
Wargo was one of 15 teachers from throughout Hillsborough nominated by their peers earlier this year.
She succeeds Mike Skobma, a Social Studies teacher at Somerville High School, who had been selected 2017-18 Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Jorden Schiff, Hillsborough superintendent of schools, and the principals at the district's nine schools recognized the top teacher in each building, as well as six educational services professionals.
“These amazing professionals have dedicated years to the children of Hillsborough,” Schiff said, “It is an honor to work with them and the hundreds of other excellent staff members throughout this district.”
Wargo, who works with autistic students, has been a teacher in Hillsborough for 11 years spending 9 of those years at Triangle School She is an advocate for her students and all students with disabilities. Wargo is caring, compassionate, committed and an integral member in the lives of her students and their families, according to Schiff.
In 2013, Wargo was recognized by the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women as an Outstanding Woman in Somerset County at their annual awards dinner.
Wargo was recognized for her efforts to spread awareness about autism, including a documentary, “Touched by Autism,” that she produced. In conjunction with National Autism Awareness Month in March, 2012.. The film, which was made entirely in Hillsborough, shows how the community embraces autism through the eyes of family, friends and educators.
Individual schools are encouraged to identify educators for the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of their outstanding teachers. Teachers recognized as part of this program become eligible to compete for County Teachers of the Year. Panels representing a cross-section of administrators, teachers, parents and members of county education associations select each County Teacher of the Year.
The County Teachers of the Year will network with educators throughout the state and serve as ambassadors for New Jersey’s public schools. Additional information can be found on the Governor’s Educator of the Year webpage.
A panel of educators then will select the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year based on written applications, video submissions and interviews with the County Teachers of the Year. The State Teacher of the Year is expected to be announced at the State Board of Education's October meeting, and will go on to represent New Jersey in competing for the title of National Teacher of the Year.