Board of Education celebrates Teachers of the Year

Credits: Marianne Ivers
Credits: Marianne Ivers
Credits: Marianne Ivers
Credits: Marianne Ivers

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The two most rewarding tasks for a board member is to recognize outstanding students and members of the teaching staff, said William Dibble, who chaired the Tuesday, April 26 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

Four teachers, one from each of the district’s schools, were awarded the Golden Apples at the Tuesday meeting. Superintendent David Miceli said that the best part of the award ceremonies is when he gets to go in the classrooms and announce the teacher recognition in front of their unsuspecting students.

Technology Teacher Julie Spoerl was the award recipient of the Salt Brook School. Principal Jeannie Maier Drexinger described Spoerl as calm and knowledgeable. Spoerl “stays on the cutting edge.” She implemented the new green screen technology at the Salt Brook School. She applies grants when applicable, sets up technology equipment and demonstrates their use, Drexinger explained.

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Spoerl spearheaded a “SWAT-team” which stands for Students Wiling to Assist with Technology. The SWAT students learn to solve technical problems and apply their skills in classrooms. Two SWAT students participated in the award ceremony and called Spoerl “a humorous and fun teacher.” Spoerl works with classroom teachers and holds technology Wednesday lunch sessions for teachers to familiarize them with the latest technology, Drexinger added.

Allen W. Roberts School Principal Gina Hansen introduced First Grade Teacher Raquel Witham, winner of the Golden Apple award in her school. Hansen described Witham as an “anomaly” – a humble person with an energy level of a lion. “She pushes students to their absolute best,” Hansen added. The way she interacts with students demonstrates that she “was born to be a teacher.”  Witham also serves on the Sunshine Committee and leads a sport club for special needs students.

The Middle School Golden Apple recipient, Counselor Kim Chrisostomides, has spent her entire 18 year career in education in New Providence. Principal Jay Richter touted Chrisostomides’s ability to connect with students as well as teachers and parents. She helps students to deal with academic, social and personal issues. She works hard in character education and creates a sense of community among students, Richter said. She is also in charge of the alcohol and drug prevention program. She teaches students about the social media and participates in special education programs.

High School Principal Lauren Zirpoli presented the Golden Apple Award to Math Teacher Charles Carell. Carell has taught math in grades 9-12 at several levels. Zirpoli touted Carell’s calm demeanor and patience. Carell expects a lot from students but in return he truly cares for them. “Chuck continues to inspire students,” Zirpoli said.

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