EDISON, NJ- Rose Pittenger, a member of the science teaching faculty of J.P. Stevens High School, has earned the John P. Stevens High School Governor Educator of the Year Award for the 2015-2016 school year. A 1994 graduate of J.P. Stevens High School herself, she has been teaching for sixteen years.
Pittenger was inspired to teach when she was young. “There were several teachers who made me feel comfortable and let my passion to learn not be hindered by my personal life situations,” she says, “I hope to instill that same sense of security in my students.” She believes that every student has his or her own individual background, and that every student can learn no matter the odds.
On her particular interest in science, Pittenger says, “I feel blessed to teach science.” She teaches her students through hands-on activities and experiments, such as building a barometer and analyzing dry ice, she tries to help her students learn about science by “doing.”
In addition to teaching science at J.P., Pittenger is also co-adviser of the school’s Chemistry Club with science teacher Michele Lumsden. In accordance with her motto, “It is only magic if you don’t know the science behind it,” Pittenger tries, through this club, to instill in students a love of the science around them.
“The students are amazing at organizing the events,” Pittenger adds, noting in particular the Chemistry Club members’ participation during National Chemistry Week at the Liberty Science Center.
Pittenger says that she tries to help her students however she can. “Many of us teachers practically live at JPS,” she notes. She and her colleagues manage websites, coach, advise, offer extra help, and consistently answer e-mails in order to provide as much help as they can to their students.
“Never settle,” Pittenger advises the J.P. Stevens High School student body. “Always ask why and look for the answer. When you think you’ve found it, tell yourself you haven’t and keep digging.”
Pittenger thanks her prior teachers, coaches, and current colleagues, friends, and family for this honor.