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Recognitions Highlight Final West Orange School District Meeting of the Year

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Educators, administrators, and students were recognized for their unique accomplishments during the final West Orange Board of Education meeting of the year on Dec. 21.


Executive Director of Personnel and Special Projects Dr. Joseph Vespignani opened the evening by discussing the newly reinstituted Governor's Educator of the Year Program.


Dr. Vespignani introduced the principals of all West Orange Schools, who then named their Teacher of the Year, and in some cases, their Educational Services Professional.


According to the website, "The New Jersey Teacher of the Year Program and the Governor's Teacher/Educational Services Professionals Recognition Program have been integrated into the Governor's Educator of the Year Program.  This updated program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success. Further, it seeks to attract public attention to the positive aspects of our educational system."





Teacher of the Year

Educational Services Professional

Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center

Connie Salimbeno

Lauren Kenny

Linda Connelly Schoner

Gregory Elementary

Makeida Estupinan

Caitlin Portuese

Kathleen Kelly

Hazel Elementary

Ana Marti

Jason Roberts


Kelly Elementary

Joel Castillo

Amy Pacifico

Nancy Feldman

Mt. Pleasant Elementary

Julie DiGiacomo

Diana Ferrera



Timothy Beaumont

Teresita Bradley

Lesley Giglio

St. Cloud Elementary

Eric Price

Robin Berkowitz

Shena Brown

Washington Elementary

Marie DeMaio

Linda Perna


Edison Middle School

Xavier Fitzgerald

Pam Romanchuk

Arturo Rodriguez

Liberty Middle School

Bob Klempt

Daniel Krayton


Roosevelt Middle School

Lionel Hush

Tracy Gordon

Suzanne Lee

West Orange HS

Hayden Moore

Catherine Connors



Teacher of the Year



These teachers are now eligible for consideration for the Essex County Teacher of the Year Award, given in the Spring. 


Outgoing Board President Ken Alper was recognized with two plaques for his past three years on the board, two of which he served as President.






In addition to Alper's recognition, Superintendent Scott Cascone recognized several recent achievements of district employees and students:


West Orange Sports

Liberty Middle School teacher Maria David

WOHS seniors Olivia Ridley and Riya Goel


The superintendent also thanked members of the district and community for their work over the past few months during the pandemic.


Dr. Cascone noted,


"I am reminded of the quote, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” (Dale Carnegie).


"We have stayed together as a community, and our community has shown its true colors," he concluded as he wished the community a happy holiday.















Cynthia Cumming
Dec. 21, 2020