High school special education science teacher Owen Ambrose was honored Monday as Montclair's 2013-14 District Teacher of the Year.
After teaching for eight years, Ambrose has always considered his work to be special and important; yet winning the district’s top honor adds a "new dimension of responsibility" to his job.
While passing through the busy halls of Montclair High School it can be easy to overlook teachers that do not cross your path. Ambrose has managed to work his way through the crowd show his dedication.
"I am being acknowledged by students and town residents who hadn’t previously considered me as a central figure," said Ambrose.
While he has always been a spokesman for education, Ambrose now feels that his words and actions are more likely to receive attention.
To be considered for Teacher of the Year, applicants just write a series of essays that are then read and judged accordingly. Montclair BOE President Robin Kulwin stated that Ambrose's essays were "excellent," and "a joy to read."
Self-critical by nature, Ambrose said he is constantly asking himself, "Am I doing enough? Am I helping better the lives of others? or Am I making education worthwhile for my students?”
Winning the award has come as a positive source affirmation to Ambrose's questions but he believes that there is still room to grow.
"It [the award] has helped me see that I am on the right track and that my colleagues, my students, and their families feel the same," said Ambrose.
In addition to naming an overall district teacher of the year, more outstanding teachers from Montclair's elementary and middle schools are also honored for their work.
Nishuane recipient Eric Eder called the recognition "a great honor," and Hillside's Teacher of the Year Judith Towery agreed saying "I've been teaching for 31 years so it's definitely great, an honor."
Others recognized for their teaching efforts include:
- Kristen Freeh – Bradford School
- Sirena Richardson – Bradford School
- Beverly D’Andrea – The Charles H. Bullock School
- Corrine Haggerty – Edgemont School
- Elaine Rose – Glenfield School
- Judith Towery – Hillside School
- Pamela Harriott – Mount Hebron School
- Eric Eder – Nishuane School
- Shawn Dey – Northeast School
- Joyce Korotkin – Renaissance School
- Christen Berman-Schiralli – Watchung School