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    Ron Rice
    Jon Zlock

    Richard Vespucci

For Release: December 3, 2003

State Board Honors New Jersey’s Member of USA TODAY’s 2003 All-USA Teacher Team

The New Jersey State Board of Education today recognized Michael J. Corcoran,

New Jersey’s selection, to the 2003 USA TODAY’s All-USA Teacher Team. Two other New Jersey teachers, Peggy Campbell-Rush and Marzet Farris, were selected as honorable mentions.

The USA TODAY’s All-USA Teacher Team honors outstanding educators and instructional teams throughout the country. The team acknowledges 20 winners nationwide as representatives of outstanding teaching in our nation’s schools. Team members receive trophies and share $2,500 with their schools, with each teacher receiving $500 and the balance going to the school.

"Clearly, Mr. Corcoran is a credit to the teaching profession and represents the high quality of teaching in our state’s classrooms," said Arnold G. Hyndman, the State Board of Education President. "He embodies the goal espoused in the State Board’s Strategic Plan- to promote exemplary educational practices by ensuring that student performance at all levels is enhanced through their participation in exceptional educational programs and activities. We are proud to honor him today."

Mr. Corcoran, the director of the science research program at Dickinson High School in Jersey City and a devoted 31-year teacher, has guided the school’s science program to regional and national excellence. Under Michael’s tutelage, his students have won more than half of all of the medals at their regional science fair for the past eight years. This year, two of his students won the $100,000 team prize in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition, the nation’s most prestigious high school science contest.

"By recognizing Michael Corcoran and the tremendous work that he has done, we recognize all of the teachers in New Jersey that set a high standard of achievement for their students and refuse to let them fall below it," said Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "The students in the science program at Dickinson High School that have achieved, should be a testament that not only can all students in New Jersey learn, but all students can excel and set the pace for all pupils nationwide."

State Board President Hyndman also acknowledged Peggy Campbell-Rush and

Marzet Farris, who received honorable mention by USA-Today.  "For Ms. Campbell and Ms. Farris to be included among the most innovative and effective members of the teaching profession brings honor to their families, their schools, our state, and the teaching profession," said Dr. Hyndman. Commissioner Librera also had words of praise for the two honorable mention New Jersey teachers. "Peggy Campbell-Rush and Marzet Farris illustrate that well prepared and challenging teachers abound in New Jersey." New Jersey was one of five states that had three or more recognized teachers on the All USA Teacher Team and honorable mention list out of the fifty states and the District of Columbia. "Their collective success should be applauded and applied to all of the hardworking teachers in New Jersey."

The All-USA Teacher Team was selected by a panel of judges from nominees across the country. Teachers could be nominated by school administrators, students, parents, colleagues or family members. All of the teachers that were under consideration were asked to describe their schools and students’ needs and how they went about meeting those needs.

Michael J. Corcoran is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and earned a master’s degree in medical anthropology from New School University, where he is now a doctoral candidate. He was also named Hudson County teacher of the year in 1994 and 2001.

For more information, please contact the Department of Education’s Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.