MONTVILLE, NJ – Fifteen Montville educators were honored by the Montville Township Board of Education as awardees of the 2016 Governor’s Teachers and Governor’s Educational Services Professionals of the Year on Jan. 17. Each Montville Township school had a winner in the two categories, plus a Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award winner at the high school.
Cedar Hill School
Kaitlyn Kung was named Teacher of the Year at Cedar Hill. Kung has been a special education teacher at Cedar Hill for three years and is an alumna of the school. She is a member of the Sunshine Committee which helps Cedar Hill families who are having an unexpected financial hardship or medical problem, and she helps run Cedar Hill's annual Holidays and Traditions Day in December, according to Rovtar.
Jody Ravallese was named Educational Services Professional of the Year. Ravallese has taught basic skills at Cedar Hill for 20 years. After completing her master’s degree, Ravallese continues to take additional graduate classes to learn current educational strategies and practices, according to Rovtar. Her two grown children are alumni of Cedar Hill, Rovtar said.
Fourth grade teacher Marci Craig was named Teacher of the Year at Hilldale, where she has been teaching for three years.
“She engages students, collaborates with co-workers and does an excellent job communicating with parents,” Rovtar said.
Britany Bucci was named Educational Services Professional of the Year. She has been working at the school for nine years and brings Character Education lessons to the classrooms, Rovtar said. Bucci also chairs the Intervention and Referral Service Team, 504 and School Culture and Climate Teams in addition to several student-led teams within the building.
“She does a wonderful job with students and is always a friendly face when students need someone to go to,” Rovtar said.
Valley View School
Linda Otte was named Teacher of the Year at Valley View, and Rovtar said she had been invited to the school to surprise Otte with her award.
“She has been described as the ultimate team player who embraces new initiatives with enthusiasm and vigor,” Rovtar said. Otte is the advisor of the school’s student entrepreneur program called TREP$.
School counselor Keith Spector was named Educational Services Professional of the Year. He also acts as character education teacher, anti-bullying specialist, I&RS Chair, member of School Climate and Safety and Crisis Management teams, as well as a model for the Montville Education Foundation fashion show, Rovtar said with a laugh.
“He is viewed as every child’s champion,” Rovtar said.
William Mason School
Ann Marie Treanor was named William Mason’s Teacher of the Year. Treanor has been teaching in the Montville School District for 18 years. During her initial years, she was a Basic Skills instructor at Mason while serving as the Director of MEDLC (after school care) at Cedar Hill and Valley View Schools. Since 2005, she has been a kindergarten teacher at Mason.
“She loves instilling a love of learning in her students and has great pleasure teaching Enrichment classes as well as Family Science,” Rovtar said. “We wish her great success.”
Teresa Gorgia was named Education Specialist of the Year. Gorgia has been working as Mason's school counselor for the past four years. She also implements Character Education programs and shares this information with parents via a School Counseling Newsletter, Rovtar said, and has brought some new programs to the school such as Mix it Up Day, a Buddy Bench on the playground, introducing a fifth grade peer mentoring program, and organizing a 9/11 ceremony for first responders.
The audience “quietly” applauded the Woodmont awardees – with cowbells – as Lauren Boninfante was named Teacher of the Year for the school. Boninfante is a thirteen year veteran educator who was hired as an elementary Spanish teacher teaching at all the elementary schools but decided to make Woodmont her home, where she teaches first grade, Rovtar said. Boninfante facilitates Red Nose Day, which highlights the impact of poverty on school age children.
School nurse Janice Shingledecker was named Educational Services Professional of the Year.
“She is very involved in not only dispensing bandages, but tends to every detail, advocating for every child,” Rovtar said.
Shingledecker’s true passion lies in the creating and promoting of a school culture that respects and accepts all children, according to Rovtar. Every December, she facilitates Giving Day, which provides an opportunity for Woodmont’s children to share their talents and traditions. Donations are collected and directed towards the neediest of families, according to a statement from the district.
Lazar Middle School
Roseanne Freykar was awarded Teacher of the Year at Lazar, where she teaches Life Skills. Rovtar called her a ‘treasure.”
“People are amazed at the level of caring you provide to your students,” Rovtar said. “You’re a very compassionate teacher. Your students are so much more enriched because of your innate ability to engage all students of all abilities from all grades, and to interact with your students on a variety of levels.”
School Counselor Susan Rappaport was named Educational Services Professional of the Year
Rappaport started her career as an English teacher and later moved into school counseling. Rappaport has been instrumental in redesigning the Character Education Advisory Program, which has received a Promising Practice Award, Rovtar said.
Montville Township High School
Tammy Bombard was awarded Teacher of the Year. Bombard has been teaching for 22 years, 13 of them at the high school. Rovtar said that nominators stated that Bombard was someone they looked up to, that she is a pioneer, and she is constantly looking for new lessons and ways to use technology in the classroom.
Naomi McCloskey was named Educational Services Professional of the Year at the high school. McCloskey has been a member of the MTHS faculty as a marketing teacher and as a school counselor for 29 years, and she has been an educator for 30 years. Rovtar said nominators said she offers a safe and supportive environment for her students and their families who works to help her students learn to advocate for themselves.
“McCloskey’s students know how committed she is to their academic and personal success,” Rovtar said. “They see her as an ally and mentor.”
Ivy League Award
Scott Riotto received the Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award. Riotto has taught social studies at MTHS for 23 years, and has been an educator for 26 years. He is an active member of the School Improvement Panel Committee, which helps with professional development. Rovtar said nominators praised Riotto for providing a nurturing environment for his students while consistently challenging them to raise their standards and demonstrate a high level of skill and engagement.
“I have seen that, visiting his classroom,” Rovtar said. “He has brought in Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen to interact with the students as a wonderful example of politics and government. We are proud of you, Scott, and we congratulate you."
To view video of the honored educators, click: