WAYNE, NJ – At this week’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting, the Governor’s Educator of the Year winners were recognized and honored for their excellence in teaching.

Two winners from each of the fourteen Wayne schools were chosen by a committee that consisted of the Principal of the school, fellow teachers and PTO members. One winner is a teacher and the other is an Educational Services Professional, such as a school social worker, paraprofessional, guidance counselor or specialist.

Assistant Superintendent, Donna Reichman came to the podium at the front of the Council Chambers and in front of a crowd of teachers, and their families, and to loud applause, announced the names of each winner.

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“Congratulations to all of our winners for their commitment and dedication to our students and the Wayne school community,” said Reichman from the podium. “Each day you inspire our students with your innovative practices, kindness and care. The outstanding work you do to support our students teaches them some of the most important lessons in life and helps shape their future.”

Two by two, along with the principals of the schools they represent, the honorees walked to the front of the room and received congratulations and flowers from Superintendent Dr. Mark Toback, BOE President Cahty Kazan and representatives of the Wayne Education Association, Eda Ferrante, Donna Reavers and Kerrian Palmieri.

“Wayne is a district that has no shortage of excellent educators,” said Toback. “As a result, each school has any number of people who would be great choices for the Governor’s Educator of the Year program.  You have emerged from a very competitive field.  Congratulations to all of our recipients.”

In the coming months, each of the winners selected locally may move on for recognition at the county, and potentially as candidates for state educator of the year.

Last year, Wayne Valley Technology teacher, Patrick Slater won the Passaic County Teacher of the year award. 

Will there be a Wayne teacher of the year repeat this year?


The 2019-2020 Governor's Educator of the Year winners are: 

School Name:


Education Specialist:

APT Elementary School

Kirsten Gillow

3rd Grade

Jill Hamza


James Fallon Elementary School

Diane Neavill


Kathleen Drago


John F. Kennedy Elementary School

Patricia Sedicino

2nd Grade

Tharaenid (Dottie) Blitzer


Lafayette Elementary School

Bethany Agrati


Janine Walk

Reading Specialist

Packanack Elementary School

Lisa Buckley


Miranda Van Dunk  Speech & Language Specialist

Pines Lake Elementary School

Alison Sullivan


Danielle Luppino

School Social Worker

Randall Carter Elementary School

Laura Mazza

5th Grade

Allison Leszkowicz

Occupational Therapist

Ryerson Elementary School

Samantha Parker

4th Grade 

Jerry Battifarano


Theunis Dey Elementary


Theresa Mertz

Basic Skills

Elizabeth Sponenburg Reading Specialist

Anthony Wayne Middle School

Michele Balletto

Language Arts

Shari Lovenheim

School Psychologist

George Washington Middle School

Maria Carpenter


Christina Andrecovich

Speech & Language Specialist

Schuyler-Colfax Middle School

Samantha Levine

Physical Education

Kelly Namendorf


Wayne Hills High School

Erika Sherger


Monica Mann

Guidance Counselor

Wayne Valley High School

Dr. Jeff White


Joanne Ciriello

Guidance Counselor