Union Teachers Among Those Honored at Kean University

Kean University hosted Union County’s Teachers of the Year on Wednesday, May 24 with a breakfast and award ceremony at the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics. Sponsored by the Union County Superintendents’ Roundtable, the Union County Teacher Recognition Program honors one outstanding teacher from each school within the county. Nearly 60 of the honored teachers are Kean University alumni.
Union teachers who were honored included Kahy Brooks, Suzanne Droban, Jamie Ficchi, Amanda Havyar, Elizabeth Macheska, Jamie Mobley, Eric M. Shaw, Judith Supino, Janet Whitehouse, and Suzanne Zawacki.
“There is no doubt that your impact will be realized beyond the scope of this state, this nation, and indeed this world,” Anthony A. Pittman, Ph.D., acting dean of Kean’s College of Education, told the teachers. “You educate and empower our next generation of leaders.”
The featured speaker at the event, 2016-2017 New Jersey Teacher of the Year Argine Safari, recalled a high school teacher who pushed her and encouraged her to reach for more.
“Think for a moment how incredible that power is that we have in our classrooms. Think of the influence that we all have,” Safari said. “Every child deserves to have a champion. I had my champion, and I’m sure that you can name teachers who influenced you. We have to continue to work and advocate for our students.”
Also speaking at the event were Interim Executive County Superintendent for Union County Juan Torres, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools Michael A. Davino, and Union County Freeholder Bruce H. Bergen. Each praised the honored teachers for their dedication to the students of the county.
“Thank you is the best that I can come up with, but I think you know how much I appreciate you,” said Davino.
Pittman left the assembled educators with an original poem that he wrote in the teachers’ honor, which read in part, “One day soon I hope you find / You did more than help them pass / I hope you’ll soon discover / That your wind helps them soar first class.”

(above) Anthony Pittman, Ph.D., acting dean, Kean University College of Education (front, left) poses with the nearly 60 Kean University alumni honored as Union County Teachers of the Year at the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean University.