NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - On Jan. 19, teacher development program, Middle School Principal Vee Popat announced that West Essex Middle School Reading Teacher Jenna Maus-Colucci has been selected as the 2014-15 Middle School Governor's Teacher of the Year. The other nominees for the Governor's Educator of the Year Program at WEMS were: special education teacher Neil Carrozza, English teacher James Massa and social studies teacher Justin Schwindel.
"I think the best way to introduce this person is through the words of her colleagues," Popat said. "One of her fellow educators describes her as 'an outstanding educator who constantly motivates her students to reach far beyond what they believe are their capabilities. She is as dedicated, warm, and caring professional as we have at WEMS… and she is a model for all teaching professionals, young and old, to emulate.'
Another colleague said that Maus-Colucci “...effectively uses the data she gathers to guide her instruction."
Popat described Maus-Colucci as someone who "epitomizes the definition of a 'team player' as she is totally immersed in positive school climate and culture initiatives through her co-leadership of the WEMS Student Council. She selflessly plans the 8th Grade Trip to Washington D.C. She truly represents the best of West Essex, both in and out of the classroom."
"She creates an environment that is differentiated to not only meet each student's needs, but utilizes her extensive understanding of (teaching) strategies,” added Popat.
Maus-Colucci, a resident of Dover, said that she is "beyond honored to have been selected” for the Governor's Teacher of the Year Award.
She said, "I did not choose to become a teacher for the frills or the recognition, but because I thought it would be the best way to combine my loves of reading and working with young adults to help them reach their potential. I have been blessed with a career that, while filled with ups and downs, has never ceased to encompass those wonderful things. So this award, coming from my colleagues, for simply doing the things that both challenge and bring me joy, feels so very special."
This is Maus-Colucci's fifth year with West Essex, but tenth year as a middle school language arts literacy teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in secondary education with an emphasis in English and Literature and a master's degree in Literacy/Reading Specialty, both from West Chester University. She is also an assistant West Essex Track and Field Coach.