CLARK, NJ – Nina Conner, special education teacher at Frank K. Hehnly School and Cecilia Petela, second grade teacher at Valley Road School were recently recognized by the New Jersey Department of Education as Exemplary Educators of the Year.
The program seeks to identify exemplary educators that “exhibit strong knowledge and skills, an inspiring presence, and a positive impact on students, colleagues and the school community;” according to officials.
Hehnly Principal Shirley Bergin spoke about her experiences with Conner. “From the moment that Nina was hired, she has been nothing less than exceptional in her role. She is a natural. She consistently shows a sincere dedication and commitment to all of her students.”
Valley Road Principal Joe Beltramba offered his thoughts too, “Daily, Mrs. Petela inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn by utilizing various strategies to engage all learners. She understands how to motivate students and captivate their attention. What makes her most successful in the classroom, however, is her ability to connect with all students making them feel loved and valued.”
According to the NJDOE Website, “Each year, the New Jersey Department of Education invites public school districts (including charter schools) to participate in the Exemplary Educator Recognition Program. The goal of this program is to identify outstanding educators for special recognition, alternating between elementary (Pre-K to 5) and secondary (6-12) every year. A state certificate of recognition is given out to each candidate that is selected as an Exemplary Educator.” The most recent round focused on elementary teachers.