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West Orange Board of Education Recognizes 2022-2023 Governor's Educators of the Year

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Board of Education recognized its 2022-2023 Governor's Educators of the Year honorees during its meeting, held Jan. 23 in the Library Media Center at West Orange High School.

The Governor's Educator of the Year Program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, exemplary teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success. This celebratory program recognizes the state's best teachers and educational services professionals.

Honorees are exceptionally skilled and dedicated licensed classroom teachers (PK to grade 12 in a public or charter school) where teaching is the primary responsibility, rather than administrative or supervisory responsibilities or educational services professionals (ESP) who are listed as one of the eligible enrollment areas. Among several eligibility criteria, they must also be experts in the field who inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; actively collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a strong culture of respect and success; demonstrate leadership and innovation in educational activities; and have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues.

Executive Director of Personnel and Special Projects Dr. Joseph Vespignani introduced each principal, who then announced their teacher and educational service professional (not all schools have ESPs). The LMC was filled to capacity with family, friends, staff, and fellow educators, who were there to celebrate their friends and co-workers.

See all the photos from the Governor's Educator of the Year recognition HERE.


Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center: ESP Jacqueline Smeragliuolo, Principal Connie Salimbeno, Teacher Lauren Porter


Gregory Elementary School: Teacher Rose Marie Kelly and Principal Makeida Hewitt


Hazel Elementary School: Teacher Nicole Payne-Venezia and Principal Joel Castillo


Kelly Elementary School: ESP Stephanie Ross, Principal David Marion, Teacher Kelly Clancy

Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant Elementary School: Teacher Kim Tawil and Principal Julie Digiacomo


Redwood Elementary School: Teacher Lisa DeMichele and Principal Kimya Jackson

St. Cloud

St. Cloud Elementary School: Teacher Gregory Marchesi, Principal Eric Price, ESP Laurie Stecklow


Washington Elementary School: Teacher Amy Jakimas, Principal Marie DeMaio, and ESP Rene Wells


Edison Middle School: Acting Assistant Principal Dr. Keri Orange-Jones, Teacher Chitra Ramchandani (posthumous), award received by her children, Akash and Anjali, and ESP Jeffrey Lafoon


Liberty Middle School: Acting Principal Xavier Fitzgerald, ESP Sara Cabral-Fogarty, Teacher Mary Ann Solimo, Assistant Principal Stephen Olshalsky


Roosevelt Middle School: ESP Michele Blum, Principal Lionel Hush, Teacher Janis Oliver


West Orange High School: Principal Oscar Guerrero and Teacher Dr. William Farley. (Not pictured: ESP Ferdinand Christian III).


Cynthia Cumming
Jan. 23, 2023