In March of 2020, we were preparing to celebrate several incredible educators but the health pandemic and ensuing school closure forced us to hit the pause button. Of course, late is better than never and these educators deserve to be recognized for the outstanding work they do for our students. Each exemplifies the “Red Bank Borough is Best in America” (#RBBisBIA) mindset, which is deeply rooted in our school district’s culture. We strive to be the Best In America so we can be certain we are the Best for Red Bank. Moreover, we all know an organization is only as strong as its people. Luckily, here in Red Bank we have some distinguished exemplars.
Each year, the New Jersey Department of Education recognizes Teachers and Educational Services Professionals throughout the State as part of the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program. The program honors educators based on the following criteria:
● Candidates must be exceptionally skilled and dedicated licensed classroom teachers where teaching is the primary responsibility OR an educational services professional (ESP)
● Candidates must have the latest summative rating of at least effective
● Candidates must be an expert in the field who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn
● Candidates must actively collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a strong culture of respect and success
● Candidates must demonstrate leadership and innovation in educational activities
● Candidates must have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues
We are honored to highlight one teacher from Red Bank Primary School and one from Red Bank Middle School, as well as one Educational Service Professional for the District.
Carol Boehm was the 2020 Governor’s Educator of the Year recipient for Red Bank Primary School. She engages students in a variety of music genres and encourages individual expression. Through the power of music, Carol inspires and fosters creativity and passion in her students. Carol also instills a sense of success and ability in every student while modeling acceptance, patience, and tolerance.
As our music teacher, Carol’s devotion to our students goes well beyond the classroom. As leader of our Kids on Broadway partnership with the Count Basie Center for the Arts, Carol highlights our students throughout the community with performances at The Atrium, Red Bank Senior Center and Borough Council meetings.
The Red Bank Middle School honoree is Grade 7 Science Teacher, Kristen Maiello. Kristen is more than just a Science Teacher; she is committed to educating the whole child. If a student is sad when they walk into her class, she will notice it and find out why, if they are happy and excited, she will want to know why too. Educators like Kristen know that relationships are the foundation for a student’s academic success.
Over the last 5 years, Kristen has been an assistant soccer coach for the four-time championship soccer team, a student council advisor, a member of the AVID structure and a role model for the #RBBisBIA mindset. In the classroom, her lessons are “outside the box” and get children to have conceptual understanding and hands on activities whenever possible. For example, Kristen obtained a grant for a classroom Tower Garden through Monmouth Conservation Foundation and Juice Plus+. Through this program, students engaged in multiple STEM related activities to build, plant, and maintain the Tower Garden and learn firsthand from businesses that utilize the same aquaponics ecosystem that they created in their own classroom.
The 2020 Educational Services Professional for the Red Bank Borough Public School District is Primary School Nurse, Cathy Reardon. There is no one like our Nurse Cathy – no one comes close to providing the level of care and dedication that she does. She is beyond supportive of our students, their families and our staff.
She demonstrates leadership within our school and within our community. Cathy has linked our school to several local resources such as United Way and Sickles Market for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Grant for which we earned the Very Impressive Produce Award from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture in 2018. Cathy also collaborates with the Visiting Nurses Association, Mobile Dentist, Hackensack Meridian Teddy Bear Clinic and Optical Academy to provide access to health and medical services for our students and families. During our forced closure, Cathy even delivered meals directly to the homes of our families! Nurse Cathy is respected and deeply loved by our Primary School Family who believe she is the Best Nurse In America!
In addition to these honors, we also received some exciting news from both the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Our Red Bank Primary School Vice Principal, Dena Russo, earned TWO distinguished honors including the NJPSA Visionary Leader Award for New Jersey and the NAESP National Outstanding Assistant Principal Award.
The criteria included a review by the NJPSA Awards Committee and consideration of the nominee’s leadership in the following areas:
● Focusing on curricula and improving student learning
● Fostering positive school/district climate and culture
● Empowering and promoting potential in others (staff, students, parents, etc.)
● Extending leadership through affiliations with professional organizations
● Describing/confirming his/her own “Visionary Leadership” in a personal essay
The NAESP award builds upon the above areas and includes demonstrating exceptional leadership in a particular school program; is respected by students, colleagues, parents, and the community at large; and sets high expectations for
school staff and students.
Dena’s focused efforts on the development of Response to Intervention (RtI) in Literacy was a key to her recognition as New Jersey’s Visionary Leader Award for Assistant Principals. She systematically constructed a tiered system of support with the Literacy Interventionists and Instructional Coaches over the course of five years, identifying at-risk students and providing the support necessary for students to reach grade level reading expectations by the end of third grade.
All grade levels participate in Professional Learning Communities as part of the RtI process to analyze student data and compile frequencies of support for small groups and intervention within the classroom. Students requiring intense Tier 3 support receive daily reading intervention. Another aspect of RtI is linking community partnerships to provide students with extracurricular activities, so she collaborated with Members of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore to establish an
outreach program. Over 120 girls signed up for Girl Scouts. Because of her efforts, in 2015-2016, 65% percent of students ended third grade requiring Tier 3 support. Through a shared vision with her colleagues and numerous community partnerships, 4% percent of students ended third grade requiring Tier 3 support in 2018-2019.
Currently in her 7th year as Vice Principal of Red Bank Primary School, Dena is a part of a dynamic duo leading this school community. Her partner, Principal Maria Iozzi, was the 2014 NJPSA Visionary Leadership Award winner for New Jersey and the NAESP National Distinguished Principal. We are proud to have these two amazing leaders as role models for young women everywhere. What an accomplishment for our 1,400-student school district in a 2 square mile town –
two nationally recognized school leaders and just another reason #RBBisBIA!