EAST ORANGE – Maria Johnson has been recognized by the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC), for the second time in three years, with the “Excellence in Education” award for her years of work as the lead environmental teacher liaison in East Orange. 

Johnson has taught at the Gordon Parks Academy for 18 years, and also coordinates environmental education programming between the NJCCC, the East Orange Department of Public Works and all of the schools in the district. 

Johnson was nominated for this award by Bryant Cowart, Clean Communities Coordinator for the City of East Orange, who cites her years of service to the students of the district, particularly her role coordinating the 2017 NJCCC Environmental Student Exchange (CCESE) and the school-district-wide clean up day.

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“Working on the 2017 NJ CCESE was an incredible learning experience from the first moment,” Johnson said. “From selecting environmental units of study, to my students attending a think tank event, which boasted over 100 students ages 10 to 17 sharing problem solving ideas regarding global environmental issues, students experienced hands on learning in environmental sustainability, litter abatement and sharing units of study. This is the epitome of a 21st Century learning educational experience.”

“Educators like Maria make a real difference in the community,” said NJCCC Executive Director Sandy Huber. “We are proud to work with her and other dedicated teachers like her to make environmental issues and solutions real for our students and families.”

NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at njclean.org.