​WEST ORANGE, NJ – Fifth grade teacher Amy Pacifico got a big surprise on May 11 when State Senator Theresa Ruiz paid a special visit to Pleasantdale Elementary School to recognize her during the conclusion of National Teacher Appreciation Week. The New Jersey Parent Teacher Association (NJPTA) and New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) launched an E-Card campaign with other organizations in the “We Raise NJ” coalition, encouraging parents and students to send specially-designed e-cards to their teachers from May 4-8.

Pacifico spent her entire education career at Pleasantdale, first as a Kindergarten teacher, then as a third, fourth and fifth grade teacher.

She said she was shocked to learn that the assembly she was attending was in her honor.

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“Teaching is the most rewarding job in the world,” she said. “Pleasantdale has been my second home.”

“To be successful, there are four pillars on which you can build: Dedication, Devotion, Discipline and Determination," noted Pleasantdale Principal Dr. Joanne Pollara. “For those of us who dare to teach, we recognize the importance of these qualities. Amy Pacifico demonstrates these characteristics each day.”

Ruiz, who serves as Chairperson on the Senate Education Committee and Joint Committee on Public Schools, arrived with President-Elect of the NJPTA Rose Acerra to recognize Pacifico for 25 years of service to the Pleasantdale School community and present her with e-cards sent by students and parents.

Ruiz expressed her support for education and turned to Pacifico, saying, “Thank you for your service and dedication. Teaching is the only profession where year after year, even when you are done, the miracle still continues to grow.”

“Ms. Pacifico had a profound effect on my daughter,” said Pleasantdale PTA President Jenn Tunnicliffe. “Imagine the impact she has had on our students over the past 25 years.”

Pacifico said she was touched as the fifth grade chorus sang, “Tis a Gift to be Simple.”

As the assembly drew to a close, Pollara stepped to the microphone to dismiss the students and said, “For 25 years, Amy has been a shining example of what it means to be called ‘teacher.’ It is my joy to honor her for her service to the children of Pleasantdale School. She is a role model for all of us.”