SPARTA, NJ – Students in Jen Caputo’s fifth grade class have been taught by the Sussex County Teacher of the Year. Sussex County Freeholder Herb Yardly and his dog Baxter presented Caputo with a certificate in June, before the end of the school year with her students and Principal Doug Layman looking on.

Caputo is the first Sparta teacher to be nominated and selected to represent the county in at least two decades.

Caputo’s students were asked “What makes her such a great teacher.” Here are their answers:

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“The way she teachers.  She makes it fun.” Isabella R.

“She’s very calm.  She keeps her cool.” Milly

“How mindful she is.” James

“She’s really thoughtful.” Aarav K.

“She’s very outgoing and is always sweet with a smile on her face.  She makes a fun environment for us.” Arielle

“The say she teaches makes it fun to learn.  She always makes everything fun.” Sydney

“She’s very mindful.” Hayden

“She’s very nice and loving.” Leah

“She’s very fun.” Molly

“She’s really nice.  We have a lot of freedom for a fifth grade class.” Bella

“Everything.” Michael

“She’s wonderful.” Jonathan

“She’s funny.” Ryan

“She’s ingenious.” Mark G.

“It’s the way she can give feedback and tell you how to improve.” Mark C.

“She’s about mindfulness and stuff. If a kid doesn’t get it she will go out of her way to make sure they get it.” Jack

“Her techniques in teaching.” Jenna

“Knowing that its mindful and she doesn’t make you feel out of place.” Grace

“She’s really kind.” Riley

“Jennifer’s passion for her work is evidenced most clearly with her concern for the social and emotional welfare of her students. Her advancement of mindful practices in her classroom enhances the academic experience and makes her a deserving winner of the Sussex County Teacher of the Year," Sparta Education Association President Susan Sawey said.

Layman said, “Everything about Mrs. Caputo's classroom, including the flexible seating to the reading library and the overall layout is inspired her research on adolescent development and how students learn best.”