BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Franklin Township School District held its second annual Teacher and Educational Services Professional of the Year Breakfast, Thursday, at Trade Wins restaurant at Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School.

Honorees are recognized under the Governer's Educator of the Year Program and by the Franklin Township BOE. The program, "highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success," according to the New Jersey Department of Education website. 

It also serves as an outlet to attract attention from the public to the positive aspects of education in the state. 

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Franklin high school's PTO President, John Felix quoted educator Lola J. May in his congratulatory remarks, "there are things to remember when teaching; know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; then stuff them elegantly."

Sixteen teachers and educational services professionals were honored by their school principals for their work inside and outside of the classroom. 

Franklin Township Public Schools Honors Top Educators

Cindy Jimenez—Elizabeth Avenue School— Teacher of the Year

Carolyn Hespe– MacAfee Road School Educational Services Professional of the Year

Marcia Wesalo—Elizabeth Avenue School—Educational Services Professional of the Year 

Keith Stewart—Sampson G. Smith School Teacher of the Year 

Emily Amon— Franklin Park School -. Teacher of the Year 

Angela Hvizda—Sampson G. Smith School Educational Services Professional of the Year 

Eileen Ucci—Franklin Park School— Educational Services Professional of the Year 

Melinda Rosso - Franklin Middle School— Teacher of the Year 

Ann Marie Walsh - Hillcrest School— Teacher of the Year 

Lisa Cassell—Conerly Road School— Educational Services Professional of the Year 

Jennifer Pasqua—Hillcrest School— Educational Services Professional of the Year 

Quiyon Peters—Franklin Middle School Educational Services Professional of the Year 

Lorena Gonzalez– Pine Grove Manor School—Teacher of the Year 

Jennifer Jones - Franklin High School - Teacher of the Year 

Giselle Rodriguez—Pine Grove Manor School Educational Services Professional of the Year

Jacqueline Schumacher - Franklin High School - Educational Services Professional of the Year

Kim Rollinson—MacAfee Road School Teacher of the Year

Felicia Osley - Conerly Road School - Teacher of the Year 

See what they were honored for:

John Haney

Elizabeth Avenue School

Cindy Jimenez—Elizabeth Avenue School— Teacher of the Year Ms. Jimenez has been a teacher for eight years and with FTPS for five. She currently teaches English Language Learners in Kindergarten at EAS. Her favorite quote is by Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Marcia Wesalo—Elizabeth Avenue School—Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Wesalo has worked in the elementary schools of FTPS for 25+ years, currently in the Academic Support area. She enjoys “sharing wonderful stories by favorite authors, stretching and challenging students and growing and learning alongside them.” 

Nicole Sury Scott

Franklin Park School 

Emily Amon— Franklin Park School -. Teacher of the Year Ms. Amon began her work at FTPS as the environmentalist at the Bunker Hill Center and has been the FPS Science Specialist for the last several years. She loves working with children and inspiring them to love science. She says, “science lends itself naturally to children’s curiosity and their innate sense of wonder.”

Eileen Ucci—Franklin Park School— Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Ucci has been a paraprofessional for 8 years. During all of those years she has worked for FTPS. One of her favorite quotes is, “When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” - William Arthur Ward

Albert Fico

Hillcrest School

Ann Marie Walsh - Hillcrest School— Teacher of the Year Ms. Walsh began teaching in FTPS in 2004. She has taught 2nd and 3rd grade at PGM and HIL. She currently teaches 3rd-grade literacy at HIL. Of the many reasons she loves teaching, “...the biggest one is seeing a child’s face light up when they achieve a goal. This is the greatest gift I can give them!”

Jennifer Pasqua—Hillcrest School— Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Pasqua has worked for FTPS for 25 years, currently as the school counselor at HIL and Elementary School Counselor Coordinator. She enjoys every aspect of her varied responsibilities and receives great satisfaction knowing that she makes a difference in students’ lives each day.

Miguel Rivera 

Pine Grove Manor School

Lorena Gonzalez– Pine Grove Manor School—Teacher of the Year Ms. Gonzalez has been a teacher at FTPS for 9 years. She teaches second grade and loves working with “great colleagues at PGM” supportive families and the “best, smartest and hardworking kids in the world”. A favorite quote of hers begins “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…” Colossians 3:23

Giselle Rodriguez—Pine Grove Manor School Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Rodriguez has been with FTPS for 11 years, as a first and fourth grade teacher and now as the Literacy Coach at PGM. She loves “working closely with other teachers in order to address the many learning needs of our students.” 

Conerly Road School

Dr. Donna Silva-Burnett

Felicia Osley - Conerly Road School - Teacher of the Year Ms. Osley has been a teacher for 14 years, 12 of them here at FTPS. She currently teaches third grade. Ms. Osley loves being an elementary teacher and takes pride in knowing that she is contributing to the learning of young people. She gets the most excited when she sees the expression on a student’s face when they understand a concept after struggling with it. 

Lisa Cassell—Conerly Road School— Educational Services Professional of the Year Lisa has been teaching for 18 years, and with FTPS for the last 13 years. She is currently the literacy coach at CRS. One of her favorite quotes by Dr. Seuss is, “The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

MacAfee Road School 

William Grippo 

Kim Rollinson—MacAfee Road School Teacher of the Year A teacher for 33 years, Ms. Rollinson has taught 1st grade for FTPS for the last 8 years. She loves teaching children in early childhood. “Nothing is more gratifying than seeing a child who cannot read or write, walk out of my class in June confidently reading with fluency and bursting with new knowledge.” 

Carolyn Hespe– MacAfee Road School Educational Services Professional of the Year With a background in speech therapy and preschool education, Ms. Hespe has served as a paraprofessional in FTPS in FPS, PGM and for the past 6 years, in her home away from home, MAC. She enjoys seeing the “light bulb” moment when her students understand what is being taught. 

Sampson G. Smith School 

Evelyn Rutledge 

Keith Stewart—Sampson G. Smith School Teacher of the Year Mr. Stewart is a 5th grade teacher. He is a second generation Teacher of the Year, as his mother was previously awarded this title. He has been teaching at SGS for 10 years. A favorite quote “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke

Angela Hvizda—Sampson G. Smith School Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Hvizda has been a school counselor for 6 years, 4 of them at FTPS. She is now the school counselor for the sixth grade students at SGS. A favorite quote by Michelle Obama is, “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people's lives.”

Franklin Middle School

Nicholas Solomon

Melinda Rosso - Franklin Middle School— Teacher of the Year Ms. Rosso is a French teacher of both 7th and 8th grade students. She has worked for FTPS for 7 years, all of them at FMS. She loves helping students achieve their goals and to see them enjoy learning. A favorite motto, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

Quiyon Peters—Franklin Middle School Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Peters has been a school counselor with FTPS since August of 2014 She has worked in a variety of capacities in the field of social services and public education. She firmly believes in order to successfully nurture and develop children there must be a focus on the whole child, with social, emotional, academic and personal supports.

Franklin High School 

Cheryl Clark

Jennifer Jones - Franklin High School - Teacher of the Year Ms. Jones is a Latin Language teacher and the advisor to the Junior Classical League. She has been working in FTPS for 24 years. She loves teaching Latin because it is unique. While some are amazed that Latin is still being taught, she is proud of her program and students. 

Jacqueline Schumacher - Franklin High School - Educational Services Professional of the Year Ms. Schumacher has been a school counselor in FTPS since August of 2013. She enjoys working with students in high school because she is able to see their growth and development first-hand. She is able to help them realize their true potential.

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