SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – At the South Plainfield Board of Education’s (SPBOE) April 10 meeting, high school science teacher and borough resident Kathleen Benton was awarded tenure.
“Mrs. Benton has really made her mark here at the school in such a short time. She is always there for students… I don’t even know if the word ‘no’ is in her vocabulary,” said South Plainfield High School (SPHS) Principal Ronnie Spring.
Benton earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Rutgers University and received both an English as a second language certification and masters in education from the College of New Jersey. She worked at South Plainfield High School from 2008 to 2011 and, when her position was cut, went to work for the Piscataway School District. Benton returned to South Plainfield four years ago when Gene Kearn retired and position in the high school’s science department available.
“I was sad to leave Piscataway but I knew that I truly belong here. This community is so special. I also live here so I want to see the schools prosper and I feel like I can have a real impact contributing to my own community,” Benton told TAPinto South Plainfield following the meeting. “I also love that the administration has been so supportive of me and, in turn, the students. They obviously have the same vision of greatness for South Plainfield schools that I do.
Benton currently teachers freshman biology as well as Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics, an AM honors course in which students partner with the Waksman Student Scholars Program offered through Rutgers. Additionally, in September 2019, she will pilotAP Seminar/AP Research, a new two-year course designed for students interested in research; currently, only 5-percent of all high schools nationally have the program in their schools.
Benton is also co-advisor of the South Plainfield High School Environmental Science Club; in the coming weeks, the group will be teaming up with the borough’s department of public works to put silver and blue turtle decals on the storm drains as part of an awareness initiative. Additionally, Benton, worked with the South Plainfield Environmental Commission, district science supervisor Shanti Murray, and fellow science teacher Angela Green to develop the SPHS Green Team with the goal of ‘making a sustainable society’ at the high school.
According to Spring, both Benton and her husband, Tom, are always available to help. “I probably should have a second tenure certificate for Tom,” said Spring, adding, “If we need a member of the community to help do stuff, Tom’s there. [The Bentons] have just been such an integral part of the school and Kathleen has really affected the lives of so many of our students in such a positive way."
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