In The Schools

Randolph Township Schools Name Teachers of the Year

Credits: Allison Freeman
Credits: Allison Freeman
Administrators surprised High School business teacher Martel Roberts during a business class to announce that she was named teacher of the year. The students gave her a standing ovation. Credits: Allison Freeman
Credits: Allison Freeman
Credits: Allison Freeman
Credits: Allison Freeman

RANDOLPH, NJ- Six Randolph teachers received surprise visits from their principals and Interim Superintendent Jennifer A. Fano on January 14 and 15 when the winners of the Teachers of the Year were announced.

The 2016 winners are: Center Grove: Marissa Kulahi (grade 4), Fernbrook: Maureen Frio (grade K), Ironia: Janice Freidland (grade 2), Shongum: Natalie Ernstes (general music), RMS: Rio Clemente (grade 6 social studies) and RHS: Martel Roberts (business).

Interim Superintendent Fano congratulated all of the winners last week as principals presented them with certificates and sometimes flowers and balloons. Some winners cried and one even screamed. Students cheered and clapped and one kindergartener made Ms. Frio a heart to congratulate her. It was an exciting time for everyone.

Sign Up for E-News

Each winner may apply for the Morris County Teacher of the Year. The Board of Education honors each winner with $500 to spend on something to support their instructional practices. The Randolph Education Foundation also honors the teachers at its Randolph Rocks event in November.

Center Grove Principal Mario Rodas said that Ms. Kulahi "has distinguished herself through her dedication to the art to teaching and her passion to teaching students. She is a role model to her students. She is an active participant in our school community and encourages her students to do the same."

"I am absolutely delighted to receive this award," said Ms. Kulahi, a four-year teacher at Center Grove who teaches in the fourth grade inclusion classroom with Lisa Rodimer. "My students truly make me strive to be the best educator I can be."

An emotional Maureen Frio screamed when Fernbrook Principal Danielle Soldivieri, Vice Principal Kristin Mueller, and Interim Superintendent Fano walked into her classroom. Her kindergarteners cheered and student Corinne Weiner presented her teacher with a pink heart she drew to congratulate her. Ms. Frio, a resident of Morris Plains, began teaching in Randolph in 1997 and has taught first grade at Ironia, pre-school and finally kindergarten at Fernbrook.

"I am very humbled and honored to be recognized with this award," Mrs. Frio said. "I love being a teacher and feel blessed that I have a job that my main purpose is to help young minds flourish. I love the primary grades for their magical spirit and authentic desire to learn.

 "I feel very lucky that I get to help my students embrace their learning year after year. While the curriculum and teaching techniques are constantly changing, the wonder in a child's eyes when learning something new or the hug they share with me is priceless. That is why I teach."

Fernbrook Principal Danielle Soldivieri noted that Mrs. Frio is the kind of educator who puts her students first. "Her passion, energy, and patience shine through in her daily interactions with her students. Mrs. Frio finds ways to work with and motivate her young students, while allowing them to find the joy and success in each and every day.  For these reasons, we are pleased to recognize Mrs. Frio as this year's teacher of the year."

Ironia Principal David Kricheff praised second grade teacher Janice Freidland. "Mrs. Freidland's impact on Ironia reaches far beyond the walls of her own classroom as she is not only a brilliant teacher, but also serves as a resource for all of her colleagues."

Mrs. Freidland is a 16-year district employee and a 22-year resident of Randolph. She is currently working on her LATI training in order to create an active learning environment for her students. "It is such a great honor to be recognized for the work I have done in the classroom," she said. "I am overwhelmed with pride. I love teaching and plan to continue to make a difference in the lives of my students."

Shongum general music teacher Natalie J. Ernstes, a resident of Hampton Township, said she "is truly humbled and honored" by the award and has been teaching and directing at Shongum School since 2000. Shongum Principal Cliff Burns noted that Shongum had "a plethora of qualified candidates" this year. "Of all of the candidates, the selection committee found Mrs. Ernstes as a true professional who gives all of herself in every lesson. She is well-deserving of this honor."

This is the third time that RMS Teacher of the Year Rio Clemente has won this award. Mr. Clemente, who is in his 15th year of teaching social studies at RMS, also received the award in the 2004-5 and 2008-9 school years. "I am very lucky that I have the chance to work in a place with such amazing people," said Mr. Clemente, a resident of Succasunna. "Everyone is so encouraging and helpful towards one another. It's because of this environment that a teacher can reach his or her potential."

RMS Principal Dennis Copeland made the announcement during a team meeting and praised Mr. Clemente for his hard work and dedication to RMS and RMS students. "Mr. Clemente consistently performs at the highest level for a teacher," Dr. Copeland said. "He is a master of the content and understands the social and emotional needs of the adolescent/pre-teen child. His receipt of the Teacher of the Year award is another indication of the impact he has made on students, parents and colleagues."

A large group of administrators surprised RHS business teacher Mrs. Martel Roberts during a class of students who then gave her a standing ovation. High School Principal Debbie Iosso said Mrs. Roberts is very deserving of the honor. "Martel Roberts is an outstanding business educator and a consummate professional," Ms. Iosso said.

"She continually looks for new ways to enhance her teaching and volunteers for numerous academic committees as her opinions are respected by both teachers and administrators.  She advised our Future Business Leaders of America and her members consistently win state awards.  Mrs. Roberts is frequently chosen by student athletes to be honored as their most influential teacher during their four years at RHS.  I can't say enough good things about Mrs. Roberts – she is an absolute gem and we are so happy to have her as part of our staff."

Roberts, a resident of Boonton, has taught a variety of business courses at RHS including Marketing, Marketing I Honors, Accounting, International Business, Career Pathways, Computer Applications, Business Principles and Introduction to Business. "I am honored to receive this recognition and appreciate all of the support that I received from the administration, fellow educators, students and the Randolph community along with my family throughout the 19 years that I have been employed at RHS."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Winter Forecast for 3-5 Inches Continues through Early Sunday Morning in Randolph Area

February 17, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A winter weather advisory remains In Effect From 4 pm this afternoon to 4 am Sunday according to the National Weather Service.

Total snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are  expected. 

Snow will quickly overspread the area from the southwest, becoming moderate to potentially  heavy at times this evening.

The snow should be finished by 4 a.m.

Plan ...

Randolph PTO Council Presents  “ALL IN” FUNDRAISER Featuring The Nerds

February 12, 2018


Randolph PTO Council presents our  “ALL IN” FUNDRAISER at the

Hanover Marriott, Route 10 E Whippany, NJ

Friday March 16th ~ 6:30pm - 11 pm

Featuring the band “THE NERDS”.

The Grand Raffle this year features fantastic prizes donated by generous local businesses. A $10 ticket gives you a chance to win a $5000 diamond ...

Morristown Happenings: Things to do in Morristown this Weekend

February 16, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  What do you have planned this President's Day Weekend?  Check out history at Washington Headquarter's new Discover History Center, take a glass blowing class, try your hand at a maple sugar demo or cheer for Morristown athletes as they compete this weekend. Whatever you chose, have a great weekend everyone!


Friday February 16

Yoga & ...

January Randolph Police Blotter Includes Many Outstanding Warrants

February 15, 2018

Jan 3, Janeth Ladino-Varon, 45, Randolph was arrested for an outstanding warrant issued by the Randolph Twp Municipal Court.  .  The defendant was processed and released.

Jan 10, Patrick C. Lake, 30, Denville was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal attempt and criminal mischief.  Lake was processed and transported to the Morris County Correctional Facility.

Jan 15, ...

Randolph Mayor Reflects on Interests and Concerns of Residents

February 15, 2018

I hope that everyone is enjoying the winter weather here in beautiful Randolph Township! It’s a wonderful time to enjoy many outdoor activities with family. From ice skating to sledding to skiing, it’s our varied seasons that attract so many to our wonderful community. Just be sure to stay safe. Do not ever go out on thin ice, and be careful when heading down those slopes! For those ...

Ledgewood Commons Asks State to OK Route 10 Work

February 21, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The company converting Ledgewood Mall into The Shops at Ledgewood Commons has asked the state to approve its plan to modify Route 10 to accommodate the project.

The plans, sent to the state Department of Transportation (DOT), comply with an August request by the Roxbury Township Council that a proposed left-turn lane on westbound Route 10 be significantly longer than ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, March 6, 4:30 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Explorer's Club

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education Health & Wellness Other


Wed, March 7, 7:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Rutgers Master Gardeners Presents: Gardening in ...

Community Calendar

Sun, March 11, 1:30 PM

Rockaway Lanes, Rockaway

Kiwanis Pins for Pets to benefit Randolph ...

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

Randolph High School Fencing; Background on The Schools Most Underrated Team 

February 22, 2018

In The Schools


RANDOLPH, NJ--The Randolph High School fencing program may not be the most glamorous sports program in the school, nor is it the most popular. Some more mainstream sports that Randolph is successful in, such as hockey or basketball, overshadow the underdog fencing organization. However, the RHS fencing team has been consistent throughout the years, finding success in, ...

The Morris County Crusaders After Strong First Season Prepare For 2018

February 19, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- When the discussion about football in an unlimited weight league among eighth graders, Coaches Odysseas Delaportas and Jeff Eisele of Jefferson decided to take action. American Youth Football, a non-profit football and cheer program bearing the logo, "non intrusive all inclusive seemed like a perfect fit. 

Delaportas and ...

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: The East Brunswick #NeverAgain Vigil

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On Sunday, February 25th at 6:30 pm on the EBHS football field, the Township of East Brunswick will host a vigil to honor the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and those of prior school shootings and to show our commitment to the safety of our school community. 

On February 14, which was both Ash Wednesday and ...

Parent Guide to Helping Kids Cope With the Florida Mass Shooting

February 18, 2018

The massacre at a Florida high school on Wednesday is hard for adults to wrap their head around, but it can be completely overwhelming for children who hear about it or see images of the carnage. Parents need to help guide their children through the fear, anger, upset and helplessness such a horrific attack can stir up in children.

“The first thing parents should do is assess their own ...

MCST Student Wins Rachael Ray's “Cook Your Way To Culinary School” Competition

February 20, 2018

Denville, NJ – Nick Capone, a high school senior in the Academy for Culinary Arts at the Morris County School of Technology (MCST) in Denville, was one of four young aspiring chefs who competed to make their dreams of attending culinary school a reality in Rachael Ray’s “Cook Your Way to Culinary School” competition.

The competition aired on RACHAEL RAY Friday, ...

Atlantic Health System Earns Spot for 10th Year on Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies To Work For®’ List

Atlantic Health System, a leading provider of health care in New Jersey, today celebrated a decade of excellence after it was recognized among Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®,” ranking number 74 in its tenth consecutive year on the prestigious annual list.

It is the only health care delivery system from New Jersey, and the top-ranked New Jersey based company on ...

CCM Library to Offer Free Workshops in Grant Writing and Fundraising Workshops Provided by Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network

RANDOLPH, NJ – The County College of Morris (CCM) Library’s Foundation Center Funding Information Network is offering three free workshops on the Foundation Center products during the college’s Spring Break, March 12-15.   The CCM Library is a participant in the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network. Network partners provide a suite of ...

CCM Launches a Degree in Virtual Reality Providing Students with a Range of Options in a Rapidly Developing Field

RANDOLPH, NJ – From gaming to training surgeons, virtual reality (VR) has become an increasingly used technology for both entertainment and learning. Recognizing that VR will only continue to grow as it becomes even more prevalent in our lives, County College of Morris (CCM) has launched an Associate in Applied Science degree in VR.

The degree will be offered starting with the Fall 2018 ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 18, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 18, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...