Milken National Educator Awards
Rachel Tonkovich is a 4th grade teacher at Nellie Bennett Elementary School. She completed her undergraduate studies at Caldwell College earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education & Psychology, and earned a Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities from Kean University. Inspired by a sibling with a learning disability, Rachel knew as a young adult that she wanted to make a difference in the life of a child by becoming an educator. She is accomplishing this by instilling in her students the desire to learn and succeed in all that they do thereby becoming lifelong learners. She has taught them civic responsibility by orchestrating a Math-A-Thon fundraiser for St. Jude’s Hospital that has raised over $30,000 since its inception.
Rachel is an exemplary teacher leader who always strives to better herself, her peers, and her students. She continually collaborates with her colleagues resulting in creative lessons that engage all types of learners. She is always seeking out professional development opportunities where she turnkey’s her training for her colleagues in a collaborative and supportive manner to enhance student learning.
Rachel guides by example and works tirelessly to provide a strong education for her students. It is her belief that every child can learn if only provided the tools necessary to do so, and supported by the guidance and encouragement of a devoted teacher, her students succeed at the highest levels.