LIVINGSTON, NJ — When the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) announced its 21 County Teachers of the Year for the 2017-18 school year, Livingston High School (LHS) science teacher Mary Walmsley was recognized as Essex County Teacher of the Year for her valuable contributions to her school community.

The honor gives Walmsley the opportunity to serve as an ambassador of education at the county and state levels.

“As is evident in all she does, Mary is a passionate, dedicated and creative teacher who ignites interest among students in the realms of Forensic Science and AP Biology,” said LHS Principal Mark Stern.

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Walmsley is currently teacher her students about the science behind solving crimes. Part physical science, part biology and part mathematics, the students are learning to discover the clues to solve the cases made for tabloid news.

Livingston Public Schools (LPS) recently discovered what it’s like to be a part of Walmsley’s forensics science class while observing students learning how decomposing rats can influence a crime scene investigation. Following her observations, Marilyn Joyce Lehren, manager of communications/community outreach for LPS, put together the following video of her class:

“I am thrilled to be able to honor our amazing County Teachers of the Year for 2017-18, and express my appreciation for the work they do for their students,” said Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington. “New Jersey has many great teachers, and this award is a tribute to the talent, professionalism, and dedication of these 21 educators to inspire the children they teach. I look forward to learning more from them in the months to come.”

In addition to affording opportunities for these 21 teachers to network with educators throughout the state and county, the NJDOE will also count on them to take valuable resources and materials directly to their district. As the Essex County recipient of this award, Walmsley will be invited to serve on state committees and task forces to share her own experiences and points of view at the state level.

According to NJDOE, Walmsley was first selected as Teacher of the Year at the school level through the Governor’s Educator of the Year program. She then competed for county recognition and was selected by panels representing a cross-section of administrators, teachers, parents and county education association representatives convened by the Department’s Executive County Superintendents.

According to LPS, it is a huge achievement for Livingston to have one of the 21 chosen teachers among its staff. Walmsley is also in the running to be New Jersey’s next Teacher of the Year.

According to NJDOE, a state-level panel of educators will select New Jersey's State Teacher of the Year based on a written application, video submission, and interviews with the top finalists. The State Teacher of the Year will be announced at the State Board of Education's October meeting, and he or she will go on to represent New Jersey at the National Teacher of the Year competition.