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2021-2022 Governor's Educator of the Year (GEOY) Recipients
Your nominations made all the difference in our district's participation in the New Jersey Governor's Educator of the Year Program.
Nominations were received from students, parents, administrators, staff and community members.
 
A Selection Committee, which included parent, teacher, administrator and past award recipient representation, used a precise grading system and rubric supplied by the New Jersey Department of Education to score the nominations submitted. 
 
At its December 14, 2021 board meeting, Superintendent Dr. George J. Rafferty proudly announced Mount Laurel School District's 2021-2022 Governor's Educator of the Year Recipients. Congratulations to all of this year's recipients!
 
 
Theresa Lynch
Theresa Lynch
Preschool/Special Education Teacher
Countryside Elementary School
 
Schew_Kelly
Kelly Schew
GAP/STEM Teacher
Parkway Elementary School
 
Heller_Jamie
Jamie Heller
3rd Grade Teacher
Fleetwood Elementary School
 
Wasserman_Marla
Marla Wasserman
4th Grade Teacher
Springville Elementary School
 
Waddell_Donna
Donna Waddell
2nd Grade Teacher
Hillside Elementary School
 
Devery_Paul
Paul Devery
6th Grade Science Teacher
Hartford Upper Elementary School
 
Grabowski_Jennifer
Jennifer Grabowski
Kindergarten Teacher
Larchmont Elementary School
 
 
Gallagher_Jamie
Jennifer Gallagher
Media Specialist
Thomas E. Harrington Middle School
 
 
A View of Our 2021-2022 GEOY Recipients
Through the Eyes of their Principals
 
Theresa Lynch
Countryside Elementary School
Theresa Lynch has been teaching in Mount Laurel since 1989. In September of 1995, Theresa became the exceptional preschool teacher that we are graced with today at Countryside Elementary School. She is described as a mentor, a colleague, and a collaborator by her peers.
 
Ms. Lynch whole heartedly commits to reaching every child and enabling them to reach their fullest potential. Her genuine enthusiasm creates an exciting learning environment and experience for her students. Theresa develops a deep rapport with each child and their family. She has a way of identifying a child’s developmental needs and building on their strengths to maximize their full potential. In her class, every child succeeds as an individual and she promotes a love of learning in them.
 
Ms. Lynch’s idea of a classroom envelopes, not just the four walls of her room, but her students’ homes, and their families’ lives in the community. Ms. Lynch initiated a Preschool Buddies Program, a Cheer Club for Countryside as an after-school program, a Preschool Graduation Celebration, and an “I Can” Gym Program. She created a stable, creative, and fun environment for students in the district’s preschool summer program for the past 20+ years.
 
Jamie Heller
Fleetwood Elementary School
Jamie has a wonderful ability to connect with her boys and girls. She works tirelessly to find ways to ensure they succeed academically, socially and emotionally. She regularly differentiates her instruction and is always looking for creative ways to meet their needs.
 
Donna Waddell
Hillside Elementary School
Donna Waddell is an exemplary educator serving as a Grade 2 Teacher at Hillside Elementary School. She has been teaching at Hillside for eight years. Mrs. Waddell has a deep love for the students she teaches and cares so much about each of them. She works tirelessly to meet the needs of her students. Her classroom is a safe space where children thrive as individuals. Mrs. Waddell serves in her role with passion, flexibility, and grace and remains deeply invested in teaching and nurturing every student she comes in contact with as an educator. She is and always will be a remarkable educator. Hillside is honored to have her on our team!
 
Jennifer Grabowski
Larchmont Elementary School
Jennifer Grabowski started her teaching career at Larchmont Elementary School in 1996 and has played an integral part in the foundation of the Larchmont Kindergarten program for 10 years.  She is the epitome of an excellent teacher.
 
As a Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Grabowski is the perfect introduction to elementary school not only for students, but for parents as well. She makes her students feel special and creates a warm and inviting environment that helps children flourish.
 
Mrs. Grabowski leads by example; her warm presence welcomes colleagues to seek advice and strategies for approaching the curriculum or a student in need.  Mrs. Grabowski’s love and support for her students does not end in the classroom. Parents and students often stay connected and seek advice for years to come. The continued relationship extends both ways as Mrs. Grabowski genuinely cares for her young learners beyond the time, she spends with them. Her reputation as an exceptional teacher leader precedes her and her dedication to the lives of all students is ceaseless.
 
Kelly Schew
Parkway Elementary School
Mrs. Schew, Parkway's GAP and STEM teacher has worked at Parkway Elementary School for all 11 years spent in Mount Laurel School District. She previously taught technology and is a go-to person for the staff when it comes to troubleshooting with anything pertaining to technology.
 
Mrs. Schew received her Master's Degree from Farleigh Dickinson University. She grew up in Mount Laurel and currently lives in Delran with her two daughters, Grace and Zoey, and her husband, Kevin.
In her spare time, Mrs. Schew enjoys going to the beach. 
 
Marla Wasserman
Springville Elementary School
Marla Wasserman has taught for 20 years in Mount Laurel In the role of second and fourth grade teacher. She consistently has high expectations for her students, but provides them with the caring and supportive environment and tools to successfully navigate the rigors of the fourth-grade curriculum. Her students grow enormously each year, both academically and socially.
 
Recognized district-wide as a caring, skilled educator who constantly advocates for her students, Mrs. Wasserman is in frequent communication with parents and guardians, the support staff and I&RS team at school to make sure the students are supported. Her classroom management and tone create an inclusive climate where all learners feel heard and supported.
 
Mrs. Wasserman is one of the lead teachers in the building when it comes to mindfulness and Responsive Classroom, and encourages a positive learning environment in her own classroom inspiring others to do the same.  She is always willing to learn new strategies and apply them to her teaching. She has been a mentor teacher to new educators at the grade level, but continually inspires more seasoned teachers to become even better educators.
 
Paul Devery
Hartford Upper Elementary School
Mr. Paul Devery has been an inspiring presence at Hartford School for the past 26 years.  He serves as one of our most talented teachers as well as an after-school club advisor for the Hartford Student Council.  His willingness to do whatever is necessary for his students to succeed is admirable and his dedication to helping his colleagues is worthy of commendation.  Not only does he care about his students’ academic progress, but he always stresses the importance of community service and helping those that are in need.
 
In the classroom, Mr. Devery is a creative and innovative teacher that is always searching for new ways to engage his students.  Whether it is using technology in his science class to stimulate the curiosity of his students, creating excitement as he walks students through their next lab activity, or engaging students in a lively discussion about a global issue, Mr. Devery is always making an effort to reinvent the curriculum so that it remains fascinating and relevant to his students.  He is a great storyteller and uses that ability to deliver the content to his students that has them hanging on to his every word.  His goal is to always show how everything they learn is connected and why it’s important.  He does this by meticulously planning his lessons and connecting cross-curricular standards. 
   
Jennifer Gallagher
Thomas E. Harrington Middle School
School Library Media Specialist, Jennifer Gallagher began her career in Shamong and Riverton schools before joining the staff at Mount Laurel Schools in 1998 teaching 8th grade language arts.
 
In 2007, after completing her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science at Rowan University, Mrs. Gallagher became Harrington's School Library Media Specialist. In addition to sharing her love of books and reading with students and staff, Mrs. Gallagher also provides valuable and resourceful information that benefits all subject areas. She creates and shares interactive and challenging breakout rooms for the students and is the Battle of Books county coordinator.
 
Mrs. Gallagher is always willing and available to help and is constantly striving to make the school and people around her better. Her gifts and strengths are displayed every day and her kind nature is appreciated throughout the district.