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Teachers of the Year
Posted on 05/15/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Beginning May 4, 2020,  we will be honoring ten outstanding educators, adding one teacher per day.

Monday, May 4 - Hawes Elementary School

We are incredibly proud to honor Mrs. Lisa Sargenti as Teacher of the Year at Hawes Elementary School. Each of the ten teachers being recognized exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Mrs. Sargenti, a first-grade teacher, possesses a wonderful ability to connect with the students in her class, making each of them feel valued and supported. Always leading with kindness, patience, and respect, Mrs. Sargenti’s classroom is a place where each student can thrive. By emphasizing and reinforcing the positive, students are eager to put forth their best effort, both academically and socially. Mrs. Sargenti incorporates mindfulness and meditation using singing bowls and other soothing devices in the daily routine to help students understand and manage their emotions, resulting in students who are calm, focused, and attentive. Students leaving Mrs. Sargenti’s class in June are equipped with a strong foundation on which to build their educational experience.


Dr. Semendinger added, “Mrs. Sargenti is an outstanding teacher.  Great teachers teach from the heart. This is exactly what Mrs. Sargenti does. Mrs. Sargenti takes the time to make strong personal connections with each child. She builds up each child and allows them all to find success and happiness in her classroom. Mrs. Sargenti delights in watching each child grow and learn.  Their successes are her successes. It's a beautiful thing to observe. Mrs. Sargenti invests in her students and creates a most wonderful environment that allows them all to succeed and find joy each day in school. Mrs. Sargenti is a well-deserving Teacher of the Year.”


Congratulations, Mrs. Sargenti! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.
Sargenti
Tuesday, May 5 - Orchard Elementary School

We are incredibly proud to honor Mrs. Christina Chicas as Teacher of the Year at Orchard Elementary School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. As the art teacher at Orchard, Mrs. Chicas runs an efficient and effective classroom, beginning each lesson with a clear, concise explanation of the project or task for the day. Once that is done, her students immediately get started, creating and expressing themselves through their artwork. By granting students independence and responsibility, they take ownership of their projects, learn to cooperate with their classmates, and feel proud of what they accomplish. As a leader in the district’s STEAM initiative, Mrs. Chicas demonstrated her vision and excitement for incorporating these concepts at the elementary level and expanding the curriculum. She is also a tech wonder and finds ways to incorporate technology to enhance the learning experience of all students. Orchard is very proud to call Mrs. Chicas, Teacher of the Year!

Principal Mary Ferreri added, “Mrs. Chicas' creative, innovative, enthusiastic, and passionate nature inspires all Orchard students to cultivate artistic skills while staying true to their unique selves. Her positive, upbeat demeanor and her fun-loving personality make her such a joy to work with at Orchard School! She is always willing to help out a colleague and teach them a new skill or support their work - in art, technology, or both! Often, the sound of children laughing and working can be heard from Mrs. Chicas’ room during lunch or after school. She is always willing to offer extra time in the art studio, which is such a treat for many of our students. Mrs. Chicas is an inspiration to us all.”

Congratulations, Mrs. Chicas! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

orchard
Wednesday, May 6 - Ridge Elementary School

We are incredibly proud to honor Mrs. Elizabeth Macri as Teacher of the Year at Ridge Elementary School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Mrs. Macri is a fifth-grade teacher who is known for creating a welcoming environment, where she establishes a strong rapport with students and parents. Her effective communication and genuine concern for her students helps her create a positive atmosphere in her classroom. Parents find Mrs. Macri accessible and easy to talk to about any topics or concerns they may have, and they are appreciative of her responsiveness. On any day, you can walk into Mrs. Macri’s classroom and feel the energy and enthusiasm for the lesson or project. Skilled at incorporating a variety of tools into her instruction, Mrs. Macri keeps all students interested and engaged. By carefully getting to know each of her students, she is able to provide appropriate support to ensure that her students are thriving academically, socially, and emotionally. Mrs. Macri is a gift to the Ridge community!

Dr. Schoenlank added, “Beth Macri is an outstanding resource room teacher at Ridge School, teaching students at multiple grade levels every day. Mrs. Macri truly loves every one of her students, treating them as if they were her own, and is committed to helping each one grow, succeed, and feel good in the process! She is continually searching out effective and engaging ways to present information to her students, encouraging them to own their learning and set attainable goals. Mrs. Macri is energized by the teaching and learning process, and she shows her passion every day!

Congratulations, Mrs. Macri! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

Macri
Thursday, May 7 - Somerville Elementary School
We are incredibly proud to honor Ms. Shannon Pia as Teacher of the Year at Somerville Elementary School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Ms. Pia, a kindergarten teacher at Somerville, creates a true community in her classroom, where every student feels welcome, valued, and respected. She is dedicated to helping her students realize their full potential. Using flexible and varied teaching methods, Ms. Pia embraces the needs of all learners and strives to connect with each child. She places great importance on the social and emotional well-being of her students and always makes time to provide additional support. The connections she establishes with her students are lasting. It is not uncommon for students to return to visit her years later when they need some encouragement or just to say hello. A funny and bright presence in the building, Ms. Pia brings joy to everyone at Somerville!
Dr. Oates-Santos added, “Ms. Pia has been a teacher at Somerville School for over 25 years.  During this time, she has touched the lives of countless kids, bringing her creativity and fun-loving spirit to the classroom each day, whether teaching in kindergarten, 2nd, or 4th grades!  At her core, Ms. Pia truly enjoys working with children, and this affection is motivating for all of her students.  Thank you for your hard work and contribution to the students, families, and staff of Somerville!”
Congratulations, Ms. Pia! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.
Pia
Friday, May 8 - Travell Elementary School

We are incredibly proud to honor Ms. Barbara Stipanov as Teacher of the Year at Travell Elementary School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. A first-grade teacher at Travell, Ms. Stipanov excels at understanding the needs of her students. Her commitment and passion for teaching shine through in every lesson. Ms. Stipanov’s engaging presence in the classroom keeps her students motivated and enthusiastic about learning. Using visuals, songs, and rhymes to help students learn and understand new concepts, Ms. Stipanov addresses the needs of all types of learners. She helps each student reach their full potential through small group instruction, conferences, individualized instruction, and regular check-ins. Her positive classroom climate makes students more willing to take risks because they feel valued and respected. Always striving to refine her pedagogy, Ms. Stipanov collaborates with her colleagues and explores innovative instructional techniques. She is a beloved member of the Travell community.

Dr. Leininger added, “Barbara Stipanov is a thoughtful, reflective, talented first-grade teacher. She has a nurturing and inclusive classroom which results in the students' building confidence and self-esteem. She is committed to building a classroom full of love and learning. It is full of laughter and joy. With her guidance, all children grow and feel successful.

Congratulations, Ms. Stipanov! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.
Stipanov
Monday, May 11 - Willard Elementary School

We are incredibly proud to honor Mr. Kevin Blois as Teacher of the Year at Willard Elementary School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Mr. Blois, a fifth-grade teacher, establishes a good rapport with each of his students at the beginning of the year and sets an expectation of respect in the classroom. His positivity and encouragement inspire students and give them the courage to embrace new topics, skills, and projects, even when they seem daunting at first. To develop a love of learning, Mr. Blois creates exciting projects, encourages students to explore their interests, and makes excellent recommendations for supplemental reading. His students learn to take ownership of their schedule and their work, a skill that is essential as they transition to middle school. Adept at incorporating technology into the classroom, Mr. Blois enhances instruction by using a variety of methods to reach all learners and makes himself accessible to students before and after school to provide additional support. Students often ask their parents to take them to school early to participate in morning math. By June, the students are well-prepared to tackle new learning adventures in middle school and beyond.

Principal Caroline Hoffman added, “Kevin Blois is one of Willard's outstanding teachers. His love for teaching and learning shines through in all he does. Mr. Blois is dedicated to supporting his fifth-graders grow as learners and individuals as they prepare for the transition to middle school. Mr. Blois gives his students opportunities to participate in hands-on and engaging learning experiences, collaborate with younger grade levels, and have fun together as a class community. Thank you, Mr. Blois, for being the teacher you are. Willard is thankful for YOU!.

Congratulations, Mr. Blois! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

Blois
Tuesday, May 12 - Benjamin Franklin Middle School

We are incredibly proud to honor Ms. Courtney Pfeiffer as Teacher of the Year at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Ms. Pfeiffer, a teacher in the math department, helps to seamlessly transition her students to sixth grade and makes them feel welcome from the first day they walk into her classroom. Using a uniquely student-centered instructional model, Ms. Pfeiffer encourages students to work together and learn from each other, driving student growth. Ms. Pfeiffer emphasizes the strengths of each student, which helps build a positive attitude toward a subject that can seem abstract and challenging. As a tireless advocate for all students, Ms. Pfeiffer provides opportunities for additional review and support both before and after school with the goal of helping each student master the topics. By applying math skills to real-life situations, she demonstrates the value and importance of the concepts being presented. Ms. Pfeiffer is not only dedicated to her students, but she is also committed to advance the goals of the math department and the district. She was instrumental in developing the new math curriculum, and she is viewed as a valuable resource to fellow educators. Any member of the BF staff will agree that Ms. Pfeiffer is a treasured colleague and teacher!

Principal Anthony Orsini added, “BF is so proud to be represented by Courtney Pfeiffer as our Teacher of the Year. Courtney is not only an incredibly caring professional who has been helping our 6th graders excel in math for many years, but she also continues to give back to the school by running student clubs and being a leader and mentor to her colleagues. Thanks, Courtney!”

 

Congratulations, Ms. Pfeiffer! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

Pfeiffer
Wednesday, May 13 - George Washington Middle School

We are incredibly proud to honor Ms. Katherine Keppel as Teacher of the Year at George Washington Middle School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Ms. Keppel is a special education teacher with expertise in multisensory reading. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated advocate for her students. Using creative strategies, Ms. Keppel delivers instruction in a way that makes students comfortable and builds their confidence. Additionally, Ms. Keppel is skilled at determining how to best utilize technology to enhance instruction. Her positive attitude, great sense of humor, and constant encouragement are infectious, which directly correlates to students taking ownership of learning. By teaching students to recognize their strengths and build upon them, Ms. Keppel equips them with the toolkit for success. Not only does she establish a wonderful rapport with her students, but she also models teamwork and cooperation and expects the same level of respect and partnership between classmates. Ms. Keppel is a cherished member of the GW community.

Dr. Katie Kashmanian added, “Katie Keppel is an outstanding, versatile, and caring educator.  She has deep content knowledge to support all students.  She prides herself on supporting the social and emotional needs of her students.  She celebrates her students' talents in all areas and encourages her students to pursue their passions in all areas.  She has dedicated the past eight years to the students and community of Ridgewood.”

 

Congratulations, Ms. Keppel! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

Keppel
Thursday, May 14 - Ridgewood High School

We are incredibly proud to honor Mr. Tim Monahan as Teacher of the Year at Ridgewood High School. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Mr. Monahan, who teaches AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics, designs and executes novel lesson plans that engage his students with demanding curricula. Despite the complexity of the subject and his high level of expectations, Mr. Monahan’s students are excited and engaged, which is a true testament to his instructional expertise. His naturally charismatic and engaging nature creates a comfortable, respectful learning environment, where students are not afraid to take risks or make mistakes. Mr. Monahan’s teaching does not stop with his students. As a Technology Innovation Specialist, he researches, studies, and masters the latest educational technology and shares his knowledge with his colleagues through the In-service Program, department meetings, and one-on-one training sessions. Mr. Monahan epitomizes the adage of the lifelong learner, which is at the core of the district’s Vision 2024 Strategic Plan.

Dr. Gorman added, “Mr. Monahan has embraced changes to education. In order to deliver a top-quality experience to his students, he has learned how to use the latest technology to engage his students and offer realistic simulations to make the classroom come alive.  In addition, he has taken on the role of being a teacher of teachers and helped many colleagues learn the latest techniques to improve their pedagogy."

 

Congratulations, Mr. Monahan! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

Monahan
Friday, May 15 - Educational Service Professional

We are incredibly proud to honor Ms. Bonnie Lowicki as the Educational Service Professional of the Year. Each of the ten teachers being honored exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” of Ridgewood Public Schools. Ms. Lowicki is the school nurse and health teacher at Willard Elementary School, where she knows every student in the building by name. The warm and welcoming environment of both the health office and the classroom puts students at ease. Each of Ms. Lowicki’s lessons is thoughtfully planned and executed. To keep students engaged, she uses interactive videos and provides hands-on learning experiences. Furthermore, she organizes safety assemblies, coordinates guest speakers from the community, and presents at faculty and small group meetings. Aside from the relationships she builds with her students and colleagues in the building, Ms. Lowicki collaborates with other nurses in the district, as well as the school physician. She is a valued member of the Willard staff.

Principal Caroline Hoffman added, “Nurse and teacher, Bonnie Lowicki, takes care of everyone at Willard School. With her warm and calm demeanor, the health office is actually a favorite place to visit! In addition to taking care of her patients, Ms. Lowicki teaches health to every grade level at Willard. From teaching about washing hands and bicycle safety to stranger danger and the human body, Ms. Lowicki does it all! Willard is thankful for our outstanding Ms. Lowicki!"

 

Congratulations, Ms. Lowicki! You are truly deserving of this recognition, and we are fortunate that you are part of the Ridgewood Public Schools family.

Lowicki