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Contact: Richard Vespucci
For Release: May 2, 2001

State Board of Education Recognizes 2001 Distinguished Teacher Candidates

Commissioner of Education Vito A. Gagliardi, Sr. today recognized 15 outstanding college graduates who participated in teacher education programs. The teachers, who were selected as award recipients for the 2001 Commissioner’s Distinguished Candidate Awards, were honored at a special reception.

"I am proud to meet these extraordinary individuals who by their talent and special gifts are poised to enter the classroom," Commissioner Gagliardi said. "Through the Distinguished Teacher Candidate Awards, we single out future teachers who show great promise in their chosen field.

"We need to continue our tradition of attracting and retaining quality teachers who can give our students a strong foundation in learning," Dr. Gagliardi said. "I encourage these candidates to enjoy long and productive teaching careers in New Jersey."

Now in its 16th year, the Distinguished Teacher Candidate Awards identifies, honors and encourages the top graduates of approved college teacher education programs in New Jersey. Since 1985, the presidents of New Jersey colleges and universities have nominated their top teacher education students for the awards. Gagliardi recognized the work of a six-member panel of educators that selected the award recipients.

The Commissioner thanked the following members for reviewing documentation for each nominee and assisting with the selection of the award winners:

Dr. George Corwell, associate director for education, New Jersey Catholic Conference; Joyce Powell, secretary-treasurer and Susan Miksza, executive committee, New Jersey Education Association; Dr. Nancy Hacker, supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Haddon Heights School District; Philip Patire, principal of Columbus School, Lodi; and Dominick Tarquinio, administrative assistant, Fair Lawn High School, Fair Lawn.

Attached is a list of the award recipients. For more information about the Commissioner’s Distinguished Teacher Candidate program, contact Karen Harcar Morris, director of the Department of Education’s Office of Innovative Programs and Practices.