CRANFORD, NJ – Two educators from Brookside Place School were named as honorees in the New Jersey Department of Education 2017-2018 Governor’s Educator of the Year Program, according to a press release from BPS.

Jill Pierce, a third-grade teacher at the school for 13 years, was awarded Classroom Teacher of the Year. She attributes her success to the community and collaboration that takes place with other teachers inside the school, according to the press release.

“It is such an honor to be recognized as Brookside’s Teacher of the Year,” Pierce said in the press release. “I am blessed to work here and honestly I owe so much to my colleagues.”

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In the classroom, Pierce encourages exploration and experimentation, showing the kids that taking risks and making mistakes is part of the process, according to the press release.

“It is important that students play an active role in the classroom and my role is to advise and guide them down the learning path,” she said in the press release.

According to the press release, Pierce was inspired to become a teacher when she was in second grade. She’s used her experiences as a student to model her own learning environment, which is described as a place for students to “feel comfortable and confident as learners,” she said.

“I just truly enjoy spending each day with my students,” Pierce said in the press release. “They are smart, funny, curious and kind.”

Maureen Foye, who started at BPS in 2001 as a classroom assistant, lunch aide and paraprofessional, was selected as Educational Services Professional of the Year.

““I have been fortunate to work with many different teachers and staff over the course of my 17 years,” Foye said in the press release.

This year, Foye is a fourth grade classroom assistant. She helps students adjust to their classroom, reinforces the instruction of the lead teacher and works to develop a comfortable relationship with the students, according to the press release.

“I am honored,” Foye said. “I really love what I do. It is challenging, but at the same time very rewarding. Every day is something different.”

To receive the awards, both educators were nominated by the Brookside Place School community and had to meet a wide range of criteria.