NEWTON, NJ—At the February Newton Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, six educator services professionals and teachers were recognized as Educators of the Year and awarded with certificates.

Denise Gilchrist and Edyie Bertoldo were recognized from Newton High School, Terri Muzzo and Carol Marinaro were recognized from Halsted Middle School, and Rose Lange and John Kanson were recognized from Merriam Avenue School.

Kurt Walton, Assistant Principal at the high school recognized both Gilchrist, Teacher of the Year and Bertoldo, Educator services professional of the year, in front of a crowd of board members, their peers, and their families.

Sign Up for E-News

“Our kids are so lucky to have you and she has become everybody’s friend at the school and that is what is so special about Edyie. She is a true Brave, she has been here for 16 years and she loves our children and she gives them the best. You, without a doubt, deserve to be educational services professional of the year," Walton said.

Principal at Newton High School, Jeff Waldron, who could not attend the meeting, had a few words to say about Gilchrist and her achievements.

“Denise Gilchrist was born to teach.  At her foundation are a passion for mathematics and a love for the students.  She builds on that foundation with enthusiasm, humor, a desire to make a difference and a love of learning.  However, her strongest attribute, as a classroom teacher, is her ability to challenge students while at the same time supporting them through their struggles. Achieving success in any field will require our students to take on and overcome challenges.  Students in Denise Gilchirst’s classes are learning how to do that each and every day.”

Muzzo, who received Teacher of the year and Marinaro, who received Educator services professional of the year’s presentations were read by Angela Dunbar, Assistant Principal at Halsted, in the absence of Principal Kristi Greene, who could not attend the meeting.

“Mrs. Muzzo has been a valued faculty member of Halsted for the past three years and has been teaching for 28 years. Her positive attitude, knowledge of students with disabilities, reading and language arts expertise and love of education has been reflected in the outstanding quality of instruction observed by her administration and peers. I would like to start by describing what you would observe if you watched Mrs. Muzzo teaching in multiple settings.. First, you would see her standing outside in the hallway with the biggest smile, shaking hands and making eye contact with each one of her students as they say good morning to each other. Next you would feel her passion for the content or skill she is teaching through her animated style and ability to use real-world examples to make connections to the curriculum.  Her love of learning is infectious and even the use of quotation marks is exciting when taught by Mrs. Muzzo. Teaching is truly an art and Mrs. Muzzo is a master artist,"Green had written.

For Halsted’s Educational Services Professional award, Carol Marinaro, the school nurse for the past 19 years was the recipient.  

“Ms.Marinaro has honed the ability to have tough conversations with students and parents regarding health and safety that may make others uncomfortable. She ensures that she is troubleshoots information with them in order to create a plan of action. Students know that when they visit the nurse’s office they will always get more than medical attention as she has a very organic way of checking in with students that encourages them to share their concerns. Ms. Marinaro believes in improving her craft to stay updated with new trends and information as well as training others. Although, she is not in the classroom she is a strong and important presence in our school and we wouldn’t know what to do without her,” Dunbar read on behalf of Greene. 

Lastly, but certainly not least, Kevin Stanton, Principal of Merriam Avenue School recognized Lange as Teacher of the Year and Kanson as Educational Services Professional of the year.

Stanton spoke about Kanson first, describing a story about the first time he met Kanson during an interviewing process for a security guard at Merriam.

“I remember when I first met John and I had just become assistant principal at Merriam Avenue and we had decided that we were going to hire on a security guard. As I was interviewing candidates for the job, I thought what interview question is going to set Merriam apart, so I thought to myself, what do I deal with as vice-principal on a daily basis, oh right, children who cry hysterically. So the first question I asked was, what would you do if you were confronted with a child who was crying and would not stop? John was the third guy I interviewed and he looked at me and answered my question saying, ‘I would tell them to stop and ask them what’s wrong’. And I knew right then, that John was the man for us. John is a vital part of what we do and we are so lucky to have him.”

The last of the six to be recognized by Stanton was Lang, whose career with the Newton school district began in 1975.

“One finds at a certain point in your career that you’re asked the question ‘How many more years’? Rose has had the best answer to that question for as long as I’ve known her. Every year when someone asks that question, Rose says ’10 more years’. So how do you sum up a career that started with Newton in 1975? There is literally no way to sum that career up, it’s thousands of children’s lives that you have touched. You’ve made such a difference with all that you do and with our children. You are an integral part of Merriam Avenue School and you’re an important friend to me and I hope that 10 years from now you’re still saying ’10 more years’.

Each teacher and education services professional was presented with a gift card and a certificate by Stella Dunn, President of the Newton Board of Education, on behalf of the board of education and Newton school district.

Light refreshments, coffee and cookies were served to all the family members, faculty members, and public members that came out to the board of education meeting and to support those who received an award.