20 teachers honored as classroom heroes

    Congratulations to the 20 educators from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, who were just awarded the Teacher as Hero award by the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. Who would you like to give props?

    This year’s National Liberty Museum Teacher as Hero Awards go to 19 teachers from the Delaware Valley and one from New York. The museum set up the program to honor educators in the region who show exceptional commitment, leadership and community service.

    Would you like to congratulate someone on a job well done? Hit the “give someone props” button above, and tell us about it.

    The recipients, judged by a panel of museum officials and teaching peers, are:

    Beth BeckerWilliam Rowen Elementary School, PhiladelphiaA special-education and reading teacher who fights to have her students fully included with regular-education students.

    Hytolia BranchWoodrow Wilson Middle School, PhiladelphiaAn eighth grade math teacher who created a classroom environment with no bullying or violence.

    John ConahanWissahickon High School, Amber, Pa.The school’s music director who teaches compassion through singing.

    Grace GabrieleSamsel Upper Elementary School, Parlin, N.J.Encourages her students to be active citizens in their community.

    Mark GageMiddle Bucks Institute of Technology, Jamison, Pa.Does exceptionally well with students who are academically and economically disadvantaged.

    Debra GellerChildren’s Village Pre-School, PhiladelphiaMost of her students are from low-income families who do not speak English at home.

    Nancy GheysensRose Tree Elementary School, Media, Pa.Helped move “Elementary School Student Achievement” ranking from No. 425 to No. 2 in the state and increased the school’s reading and math proficiency.

    Danielle HickeyO’Brien Academy, Ewing, N.J.Special-needs teacher at an alternative learning program.

    Dennis HowieNeshaminy High School, Langhorne, Pa.Advisor of several extracurricular activities, including the literary magazine and a club that builds alliances between gay and straight students.

    Ashley HunterSchool of the Future, PhiladelphiaEarned a Special Education Administrator certificate and initiated the Special Olympics program at her school.

    Mary McInerney, Phd.The Richard H. Hungerford, Staten Island, N.Y.The youngest person ever to become a principal in the New York City Department of Education, she also served as an adjunct professor at Adelphi University and as an assistant instructor at Columbia.

    Catherine MichiniGermantown High School, PhiladelphiaMath teacher at a “persistently dangerous” school, where nearly one-third of the students are diagnosed with special needs.

    Joanne NewtonAllen M. Sterne Elementary School, PhiladelphiaWorks toward assimilating the contributions of autistic students into the mainstream, and developed a training program to teach tolerance and acceptance to those who understand little about autism.  

    Joyce RandellYouth Study Center, PhiladelphiaA math teacher for at-risk incarcerated students who brings math and financial literacy into the “real world.”

    Sharon ReitmanHillsdale Elementary, West Chester, Pa.For two years in a row, 100% of her students were proficient in math.

    Jennifer SatterfieldClearview Regional High School, Mullica Hill, N.J.Teaches humanitarian studies course about the effects of global poverty and human trafficking, and started a program to minimize bullying and neglect.

    Rita SorrentinoOverbrook Elementary School, PhiladelphiaHelped found the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia, a partnership between Penn and the Philadelphia School District. Also an active participant in the Philadelphia Writing Project and the Philadelphia Technology Education Center.

    David TatumTorah Academy of Greater Philadelphia, Wynnewood, Pa.A history teacher with excellent classroom control, achieved not through fear but through love.

    Margie TavakalianBeverly Hills Middle School, Upper Darby, Pa.In a school that serves immigrant students escaping war, poverty and hardship, she helps connect the children and their families to the resources they need to transition to their new life and language.

    Ray ThompsonScience and Discovery High School, Chester, Pa.Developer and co-founder of a student-run youth court system designed to prevent student offenders from being suspended or expelled while teaching academic, civic engagement and socialization skills.

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