Each year, we get tons of great submissions from kids telling us how amazing their teachers are.

Letter after letter gives us a loving description of teachers who make school fun and encourage their students to be curious and excited about learning. Congratulations to the many educators across SJ who make it their goal to make a difference in their students’ lives. It appears you are succeeding.


Grand Prize Winner

Mrs. Christy Marrella
Rosa International Middle School, Cherry Hill
Nominated by Christina Guida, 8th grade

I think a fabulous teacher is one who makes you challenge yourself. One who makes you realize that although certain things may be difficult for you, you can overcome any obstacle. It may take some hard work, but you can get there. That fabulous teacher is Mrs. Marrella. Although she has only been my humanities teacher since September, she has made a lasting impression on me.

“I can open the door, but you have to walk through it,” Mrs. Marrella says to us. I’ve been struggling with some of the participation factors at school, but Mrs. Marrella made me see that I can, and that I have to participate. She taught me that history is made when someone takes a single step in the right or wrong direction. Some people just need a guiding hand to help them open the door. Mrs. Marrella is so fabulous because she opened the door for me and many other students.


Mrs.-Amy-HemphillMrs. Amy Hemphill
Rancocas Valley Regional High School, Mount Holly
Nominated by Bert Jordan Jr., 10th grade

Mrs. Hemphill is a health and physical education teacher for grades nine through 12. In the course of my education, from kindergarten through tenth grade, Mrs. Hemphill stands out. The minute you step into her classroom, you experience a positive atmosphere. Whether you see her Monday or Friday, at 7:30 am or 2:30 pm, she always has a smile on her face that is contagious.

Mrs. Hemphill sees a future in every one of her students and inspires us to reach for the stars. In her class, it is not just about who got an A on the test or who can do the most push-ups – she is interested in every student as an individual. Mrs. Hemphill takes the time to come up with lessons that do not just involve listening to her talk and taking notes. She involves technology, collaboration with other classmates, creative projects and experiments. At the end of the school day Mrs. Hemphill is not finished interacting with students. She continues to give her time through numerous after-school activities. In addition, she always has an open door for students who need help. She is an inspiring role model for my generation and many generations to come.

Mrs.-Denise-SchaalMrs. Denise Schaal
Howard Yocum Elementary School, Maple Shade
Nominated by Tatyana Marshall, 2nd grade

Mrs. Schaal is the best teacher I ever had. She cares about us so much and takes her time teaching us new things. I love coming to school every day because of her and will miss her so much next school year. I think Mrs. Schaal should be the teacher of the year because she treats her students fair and with love. She makes me feel special and makes me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to do. She encourages us to read and do fractions even when we don’t have to do that for homework, because she says it will help us when we get older. So I read often and do my fractions because of what Mrs. Schaal said. Thank you Mrs. Schaal, you are the best.

Mrs. Sue Bennett
Cinnaminson High School
Mrs.-Sue-BennettNominated by Karen Clark, 11th grade

My favorite teacher is my study skills teacher, Mrs. Sue Bennett. I’ve had her for the past two years, and she has always helped me with all of my schoolwork. She does so much for not just me, but for every single student she encounters – even if we come at her with papers that are due the following day. She may get a little upset, but we always get it done. She can handle anything we throw at her.

Mrs. Bennett is also a leader of a club that I am in called Friends of Rachel. In this club we help create awareness about bullying, and we recently went to Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. We served food to the homeless. It was a wonderful experience and showed us what it’s like to give back to the community.

Honorable Mentions

Mrs.-Stephanie-Owens-Ms. Stephanie Owens
Kingsway Regional Middle School, Woolwich Township
Nominated by Hannah Reklewski, 8th grade

Stephanie Owens is a talented choir and music teacher at Kingsway. With two children, she has experience with younger audiences. She has taught many students to become confident and bold. She is quirky, hilarious and my role model. Mrs. Owens treats every single child she has taught as if they were her own children. Her sweet personality is exactly what you aim for. She strives for perfection and never stops believing in her students. She has pushed a large number of students to come out of their comfort zones, and it has benefitted everyone.

She has major talent, especially with music; her teaching has even been featured on the radio. She is also very kind everywhere – she runs many clothing and food drives. She encourages excellence, good behavior and phenomenal grades. I never thought I would be so inspired by this teacher nor so confident in myself.

Mr.-Arthur-YueMr. Arthur Yue
Thomas Jefferson Elementary, Turnersville
Nominated by Jayden Campbell, 4th grade

Mr. Yue is such an awesome teacher because he is very fun. We get to play silent ball at the end of the day as long as we’re good that day. He is our writing and reading teacher. When we write he gives a fun or cool topic to write about. When we do independent reading we sit at our seats, but near the end if we were reading quietly we get to move around and read. Mr. Yue helped me by teaching me how to do a good writing prompt. When I started the school year I was pretty bad at writing, but now I know text features, structures and bigger, better words.

Ms.-Lori-Lenzi-Ms. Lori Lenzi
Woodrow Wilson High School, Camden
Nominated by Ya’Nya Buckhannon, 9th grade

My ninth grade English teacher Ms. Lenzi is fabulous, because not only does she teach us, she also encourages us to tap into our gifts and abilities. She has literally turned our classroom into an environment that is a safe haven, where learning and taking risks are consistent and fun. Because of her great compassion for all the students at Woodrow Wilson High School, we call her mom. She greets everyone with love, compassion and positive energy. I have yet to meet a teacher who cares so much about our learning and character. She is the type of teacher that will do whatever it takes to see us be successful. She is a rare breed and absolutely fabulous. We are not just a classroom, but truly a family with the best mom (I mean teacher) ever.

Mrs.-Kim-Gardine-Mrs. Kim Gardine
J.F. Tatem Elementary, Haddonfield
Nominated by Josh Devaney, Pre-K

She finds out things that are good for us to play. Also she’s fun to play with, and the other teachers are, too. Also she makes people feel better. And if they’re bad she gets them in just a little trouble. Also she’s nice to people. And the other teachers are nice too. Mrs. Kim talks about me a lot, and she thinks I’m great at stuff. Also she talks about me more and more. Also she likes her whole class including herself and the other teachers, even her family, and me.

Ms. Bridget Garrity
Cherry Hill High School West
Nominated by Emily Rosenzweig, 9th grade

Ms.-Bridget-Garrity-We have the best teacher ever! Ms. Bridget Garrity truly enjoys being with us. Teaching is not just a job for Ms. Garrity; we know there is no other place she’d rather be than baking, gardening and cooking with us. She teaches us living skills. Ms. Garrity is planning a prom just for us kids. And she decided to take seven students to a DECA business competition. This was the first time that some of the kids in the vocational/functional program got involved with DECA. The students had to role-play selling things and compete against kids in the regular classes. Can you believe that all seven of the students that came with Ms. Garrity qualified? She worked hard with them.

Ms. Garrity also plans community outings for us. Recently, she kept a smile on her face as we waited for the bus in the pouring rain and watched as each of us kids slowly dropped our coins into the fare box. Ms. Garrity does not see disabilities, only abilities.

As told to Emily’s mom, Arlene Rosenzweig

Mr. Ronald Hamilton
Loring Flemming Elementary School, Gloucester Township
Nominated by Brooke Coco, 5th grade

Mr.-Ronald-Hamilton-Mr. Hamilton is always very patient. He wouldn’t get mad if you asked him a billion questions every five seconds. In fact, Mr. Hamilton would love it if you asked a question, because it would show him that you were very curious about learning. Trust me, I ask a lot of questions, and he would always answer them very politely. Mr. Hamilton is one of the most patient teachers I know.

The best thing about Mr. Hamilton is he would not teach us and then give us work. Mr. Hamilton would bring the subject to life. Instead of teaching us about a boring old subject, he would always make it fun.

Mr. Hamilton is also a very brilliant teacher. If any of us had trouble, he would not just stand there. He would rush over and help us with whatever we were having trouble with.

April 2016
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