Education

Cedar Grove H.S. Teacher Profile: Mike Valenzano

29f4d765282d04726645_a71c99bd2fc0e88f3985_IMG_2610.JPG
29f4d765282d04726645_a71c99bd2fc0e88f3985_IMG_2610.JPG

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  This is Cedar Grove High School’s Michael Valenzano’s favorite quote to summarize his philosophy in the classroom, which is clearly reflected with his welcoming smile and his ability to reach his students on a personal level.

Widely known as “Mr. V.” to the students, Valenzano has utilized his past 13 years in the district to build a distinct relationship with the students by connecting with them through the gym, health room, and the driver’s seat.

Valenzano began his career at CGHS in May 2003, starting off with observing Phys. Ed. classes with Coach Ed Sadloch. He began teaching Phys. Ed. in September 2003 at Memorial Middle School. Growing up in Fairfield and attending West Essex High School, Valenzano completed his higher education at Montclair State University where he earned his Masters in Administration & Supervision.

Sign Up for E-News

As a student at West Essex High School, Valenzano was an active member of the baseball team.

“As a Phys. Ed and Health major, with the dual certification, there was a lot to do,” said Valenzano, recalling taking night classes during baseball season and gaining as many credits as possible. “They usually try to tell you it is a five year program, but I figured on my fifth year I could be working, earning, and living, so I worked hard to do it in four years.”

Valenzano, 35, returns home every day to his wife and two children, as he reflects on the current period of time in his life where family, career, and self-awareness come together.“My children will be 7 and 3 years old by the time the summer comes around,” he said. “It’s a good time of life.”

His office walls consist of baby and family pictures and many coaching metals he received over the years.

Aside from teaching Phys. Ed and Health, Valenzano is the only teacher in CGHS able to teach Driver’s Education, a unique course dedicated to teaching the basic skills of driving and enforcing safety regulations and guidelines for high school sophomores bound to take the wheel. From the beginning of freshman year, students await the first class of Driver’s Education. “Driver’s Ed is a clear favorite for me,” he said. “I always tell my students, that I get to teach them something they’ll use every day for the rest of their lives, which is rare to say.”

“He put a big emphasis on safety and being a responsible driver,” said sophomore, Katie Sickinger. However, Mr. V.’s influence exists beyond the teachings of being behind the wheel for the first time. “If you have any problems he’s willing to listen and help you solve them,” she continued.“What Mr. V. has taught me is something I’m going to use forever,” continued sophomore, Anthony Clarizio.

    Valenzano refers to the most rewarding thing about teaching- “When students come back, it’s nice to hear them reaching the goals they had set for themselves; that and when students come back with that laminated piece of paper saying that they got their license.”

Many students expressed their admiration for Valenzano’s ability to truly connect with them.

Whether it is in the gym or in the health room, Valenzano seems to serve as a leader, whose advice is valued. “I view him as kind of a role model, and I really appreciate the things that he does for the kids in our school,” said senior, Chris Werndly. 

“Knowing V. for the past four years now, if you ever need something you go to him. He would really help you out with anything,” said senior, Michael Matarazzo.

Valenzano stresses the importance of trust formulated with his students. For the past 13 years, he created relationships with growing teenagers who still keep in touch with him. “I think the most important part of my career is the relationships I’ve been able to establish with the students,” he said.

“A teacher needs to find it in themselves to lead every day,” said Valenzano. “And to make the students better, because that’s why we’re here.”

Rachel Bucchino and Tara Guaimano are seniors at Cedar Grove High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove.  Verona and Cedar Grove High School students interested in participating in our journalism program can contact Jeanne Moreno at jmoreno@tapinto.net.

Did you like this story?

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!  Sign up here to have stories like this sent directly to your email for free.  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Nutley Police Rescue Woman Locked in Burger King Restaurant

July 14, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Officers from the Nutley Police Department responded to a 911 call on Sunday at 5 a.m. from a woman who was locked in the Burger King restaurant off Franklin Ave.

The woman fell asleep in the ladies room sometime prior to closing and woke up only to find all of the employees gone and the doors locked. 

Nutley police responded and entered the building to allow her to leave.

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

July 8, 2018

July 2, 2018 – July 8, 2018

On July 3, 2018 at 7:22 a.m., Ptl. Kristian Schneider responded to a David Road address to take a report of a suspicious vehicle. The resident observed a black four door vehicle stop in front of her home at approximately 5:20 a.m. She noticed that both passenger side doors were open and then observed two black males walking from the area of her driveway. She ...

Presbyterian Church Steeple, a Roxbury Landmark, Gets Overdue Attention

July 15, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - The long-sought restoration of the iconic, but decaying steeple atop the First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna is underway.

Using a massive hydraulic boom lift, workers from Main Street Custom Homes and Remodeling of Succasunna, got a close-up look today at the 165-year-old structure. The company, headquartered a few doors away, is volunteering the project management ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_c59c9acb1abc7cdb8c6a_mini_magick20180510-124227-5wdsnf

Mon, July 23, 9:00 AM

Sellitto Field, Verona

Verona Football 2018 Summer Camp

Sports

Mon, July 23, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Mane Place II in Verona Celebrates 30 Years in Business!

July 13, 2018

Mane Place II located at 654 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona recently celebrated their 30th Anniversary with week long specials and discounts leading up to a ribbon cutting event on Saturday, June 30th with township officials including Mayor Kevin J. Ryan, Councilman Jack McEvoy, Councilman Alex Roman and Director of Economic Development, Steven Neale.

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...