SJ’s Top Teachers

Wow! For several years now, we’ve asked SJ students to write and tell us what makes their favorite teacher so awesome, but we’ve never had this many responses before!

Congratulations to the many, many teachers in our towns who must be doing something right. Kids from all over filled our mailbox with tales of teachers who make it clear they want their students to do better – to be better. And not just on tests either. The letters spoke of caring adults who look past textbooks to make sure their students love learning. And for that, their students love them.

Grand Prize Winner

Ms. Carolan Kviklys
Maurice & Everett Haines Sixth Grade Center, Medford
Nominated by Adam Krsnak, 6th grade

Kviklys WinnerMrs. Kviklys is by far my best teacher because she helps me the most. Most other kids pick the teacher who has the best humor and fun – I’m picking the teacher that is most helpful.

At the beginning of the year, I read 10 minutes every week. But because of her, I am reading 45 minutes to an hour a night. This is an example of how she has inspired me. Mrs. Kviklys has also taught me how to study for tests and quizzes. This teacher has assisted me with projecting future reading material, and I have at least three books lined up to read. She is very resourceful and has guided the entire class to a website for literature. On this site, I am the best reader in the class, which is shocking because I was not a good reader in the beginning of the school year. Now in the past month I have read 1,254 minutes on this particular site.

Mrs. Kviklys is also very funny but can get to her point very quickly. She calls herself a chocolate-covered cherry because she is sweet on the outside but has a pit in the middle. Mrs. Kviklys never becomes angry or upset at her students, and this is why she is my favorite teacher.



Mr. Steve Smith
Robert B. Jaggard Elementary School, Marlton
Nominated by Olivia Franciotti, 3rd grade

SmithMr. Smith is the greatest teacher ever. At the beginning of the school year I had a lot of anxieties related to school. He understood right away and worked with my parents to make it easier for me to be at school. Over time, he made me more and more excited for school. With the anxieties came some trouble with learning. He never gave up on me. He believed in me, which made me believe in myself. He works very hard for all of us to succeed. I am doing very well at school right now, and my anxieties are gone. I love school and love learning. He makes learning fun and exciting. Mr. Smith is kind, funny and caring. He deserves the Top Teacher award, because that is what he is – the best teacher. I am very lucky to be in his class. I am looking forward to more learning every day. He is the best.


Ms. Betty Dovas
Frances S. DeMasi Middle School, Marlton
Nominated by Maggie Yang, 8th grade

DovasAlthough I would’ve liked to suggest several nominees, one inspiring teacher stands out from the rest. Ms. Dovas is my very amazing reading teacher with a mind of steel – creative, thoughtful and brilliant. She inspires me to push myself to do more, to push the boundaries of my own potential and never settle for anything less. With her tutelage, I truly feel ready for the vast warfront called high school and that I can face the menacing world of English literature. Ms. Dovas has such a calming aura about her, even though one must be fully alert, wide-eyed-awake, and ready to read and write a mile in her class.

Her classroom is the most colorful I’ve ever seen, and she is one of the most interesting teachers around. She has some of the most creative lessons under her wing, like a written discussion she modeled after social media, not to mention that she can start a full-fledged discussion to activate and spark all of our minds, to stretch the size of our thinking caps and the boundaries of our imaginations. Entering her class is entering another realm, full of wonder and curiosity. The world needs more teachers just like her.


Mr. Luis Then
Cherry Hill High School West, Cherry Hill
Nominated by Sean Milligan, 12th grade

ThenMy teacher Luis Then is a fabulous teacher, not only because of what he has done in the classroom but also for what he has done outside the classroom. Luis Then is a retired major in the United States Air Force and has done so much for our country. Now that he is retired, Major Then is my Air Force JROTC instructor, and I am privileged to see him every day. He joined us last year, and since his first day he and I have developed a friendship that I have never shared with another teacher. I feel that Major Then is the only person I could go to if I ever needed help in my life.

Aside from the class we have together, Major Then pays attention to my other classes and makes sure I am doing my best. Major Then makes me feel that I am being cared for in a classroom. He wants me to succeed, and I can’t thank him enough. I know his advice will help me in the future.


Ms. Kaitlyn Carter
Strawbridge Elementary School, Westmont
Nominated by Lola Tallman, 3rd grade

CarterMy teacher Ms. Carter is the best third-grade teacher in the world! She is loving, caring and very creative. When I go to school, she has great lessons planned, it doesn’t even feel like work! We learn so much and it is fun!

When I am in school, she helps me to spell and write. My favorite part about school is when each student gets to be a super star for the week. We get to tell about ourselves and we even have lunch with the teacher.

I have had some health problems and Ms. Carter has really helped me to feel better. She gives me breaks when I need them in school. In January, I had my tonsils out and missed over two weeks of school. Ms. Carter had the class make me cards, she sent me a package and even came to my house and visited me. That made me feel very special!


Honorable Mentions

Mr. Shawn Clancy
Mary E. Volz Middle School, Runnemede
Nominated by Justin Delgado, 7th grade

There are many teachers in the world, but I have one special favorite. My favorite teacher is Mr. Clancy. Mr. Clancy is an outstanding teacher. He deserves to be teacher of the year.

One reason he is my favorite teacher is he always lets us choose what game we want to play in gym. He wants us to be happy and have lots of fun and get a good grade in his class. One time, he let us choose what we wanted to play, and after class everyone had so much fun.

My second reason is that he always helps in situations. One time, my friend Tyler broke his finger, and Mr. Clancy made him feel good and let him keep score for all the games we played and let him play with the dodge ball. He is one of the nicest teachers you could ever have.

Finally, he always has a smile on his face and makes everyone feel good. When you walk into his class, he always asks, “How are you?” One time, I was having a bad day, and he made it better because he said I was doing great and that I’m a great athlete. He always keeps me motivated!

Ms. Tammy Steelman
Hess School, Mays Landing
Nominated by Rayna Mangold, 2nd grade

SteelmanThe teacher I’m nominating is Ms. Steelman. She teaches reading and writing. I picked Ms. Steelman because she is honest. If I need something else done, she will tell me what I need done. She is strict. If she was not strict, we would not learn anything because the room would be all crazy. Ms. Steelman is careful because she tries her best to come to school every day to teach us. Ms. Steelman is intelligent because she will teach us things and will quickly think of good examples to tell us. I picked Ms. Steelman as the Top Teacher because I get to spend a lot of time with her and know a lot about her.

Ms. Melanie Mochan
Florence V. Evans Elementary School, Marlton
Nominated by Tejas Madhav, 2nd grade

MochanMy teacher Ms. Mochan is the best teacher because she is really very nice. I think she is nice because she is so patient and so hardworking. She works so hard to teach us about math, science and social studies, but most importantly, she teaches us to be kind to each other. She is so patient with everyone and helps us understand things if we do not get something right away.

Every Friday we get to play math games in class, and her club is also very cool. We get to go every Wednesday! Ms. Mochan also taught us about continents and countries this year. Now I love maps and want to visit other countries. Ms. Mochan wants to go to Australia sometime, and I want her dream to come true. This year is special for Ms. Mochan because she is going to get married, and I think it will be even more special if she wins because she is the best.

Mrs. Sandra Mole
Ralph J. Steinhauer Elementary School, Maple Shade
Nominated by Justin Milligan, 5th grade

MoleMrs. Mole, no matter what, recognizes proficient work. This is significant to me because it makes me feel skillful when she values my efforts. For example, on an open-ended question that was included in my test, I worked hard on it. When Mrs. Mole was handing the test back, she specifically acknowledged me for my hard work. Another occasion where Mrs. Mole recognized my work was after I finished my Revolutionary biography report. Mrs. Mole pulled me aside and said “great job.” This made me feel very proud of my work, and it felt good that she valued my time and effort.

Mrs. Mole has bright ideas. One idea she had was to start Revolutionary biographies. This idea was creative and bright because it was perfectly planned out. Another great thing about it was that we got to make a costume to present in. I got to dress up as Paul Revere and present in front of the class.

Mrs. Mole is very passionate about social studies. One time, a kid in my class needed a photograph for something in his Revolutionary biography, and over the weekend Mrs. Mole went all the way down south to get this photograph.

I am grateful to have had Mrs. Mole as my 5th grade social studies teacher, and I am very sad to be leaving her class but I feel it leaves opportunity for other children to have a great teacher like I did.

Mr. Jeff McCoog
Timber Creek Regional High School, Erial
Nominated by Andrew Mirmanesh, 11th grade

McCoogAt first, high school is like an ocean. It’s vast and dark, and full of mysteries and unexplored. You jump in not knowing what to expect and find that you can only survive by swimming hard against those tough currents and frightful waves. You can work at your very best to float on by. To take every hit from every damaging wave like a stone wall, but sometimes you need just a bit of help along the way, and that’s exactly what Mr. McCoog, or Coog as most of us call him, did for me. He acted very much like a life preserver, something to help me along the crashing waves of high school. Although a teacher, I consider Coog a friend. He is there when you need him and always able to give wise advice from knowledge he has gained from his past. His lessons about life are more powerful to me than anything that could be taught from a textbook.

Mrs. Jennifer Henry
Kingston Elementary School, Cherry Hill
Nominated by Aidan Davidson, 5th grade

HenryHi, my name is Aidan, and I pick Mrs. Henry as the Top Teacher. I pick Mrs. Henry as the Top Teacher because she is funny, serious and silly. Those are only a couple ways to describe her. Mrs. Henry would always mix up work with fun. For example, after every spelling test, we would play a game of Sparkle to study our spelling words.

Mrs. Henry inspired me a lot to stay focused on my work. All the time when I was taking a test, I would look around the room. But she would always tell me either “pay attention” or “you can sit there all day.” Mrs. Henry also inspired me to be a good loser. When we play a game of trash can basketball and I would lose, I would stomp my feet off to my seat. Those were a couple ways Mrs. Henry inspired me.

April 2014
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