The New Jersey Department of Education recently announced the 21 educators who have been named New Jersey’s 2023-2024 County Teachers of the Year.

“I applaud the commitment and professionalism of each of the 21 County Teachers of the Year,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “If you want to know why New Jersey’s public schools are rated as among the best in the nation, look no further than these 21 exemplars of the kind of quality teaching that takes place in every school throughout our state.”

Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillian, acting education commissioner, said, “Teachers have a profound and lasting impact on the growth of their students, and each of the County Teachers of the Year will serve as mentor, role model and as spokesperson for the teaching profession. I trust these voices encourage even more dynamic individuals to enter the teacher workforce.”

Watch a video highlighting the winners, which includes comments from state officials and students.

Individual schools nominate exceptional educators for County Teacher of the Year through the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program, which promotes a positive school culture by acknowledging the hard work and dedication of outstanding teachers and educational services professionals. More information is available on the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program webpage.

The County Teachers of the Year will network with educators throughout the state and serve as ambassadors for New Jersey’s public schools during the upcoming school year.

A panel of educators selects the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year from among the 21 County Teachers of the Year based on written applications, video submissions and interviews with the top finalists. The New Jersey State Teacher of the Year will go on to represent New Jersey in competing for the title of National Teacher of the Year.

New Jersey’s 2023-2024 County Teachers of the Year
CountyTeacherPositionSchoolSchool District
 Atlantic Erin Sharpe Science Teacher Cedar Creek High SchoolGreater Egg Harbor Regional High School District
BergenGary WhiteheadEnglish Language Arts TeacherTenafly High SchoolTenafly School District
BurlingtonNicola Recla FischerKindergarten TeacherCaptain James Lawrence Elementary SchoolBurlington City School District
CamdenRon SmithEnvironmental Science EducatorHaddonfield Memorial High SchoolHaddonfield School District
Cape MayAlison Curvan3rd Grade Teacher*Dennis Township Elementary SchoolDennis Township School District
CumberlandBetsy HarrisonMusic TeacherCumberland Regional High SchoolCumberland Regional High School District
EssexShamshadeen MayersSocial Science TeacherBloomfield High SchoolBloomfield School District
GloucesterPhillip NeffScience TeacherPaulsboro High SchoolPaulsboro School District
HudsonJennifer DonnellyScience TeacherJose Marti STEM AcademyUnion City School District
HunterdonGargi AdhikariSpecial Education TeacherHolland Brook SchoolReadington Township School District
MercerYulieth Le4th Grade TeacherLawrence Intermediate SchoolLawrence Township Public Schools
 Middlesex Julie MercierEnglish Language Arts TeacherNorth Brunswick Township High SchoolNorth Brunswick Township School District
MonmouthJoseph NappiSocial Studies TeacherMonmouth Regional High SchoolMonmouth Regional School District
MorrisRobin MeyhHealth and Physical Education Teacher**Mendham High SchoolWest Morris Regional School District
 Ocean Jaclyn PotocharEnglish Language Arts & Science TeacherLake Riviera Middle SchoolBrick Township School District
PassaicAmanda Rhodes5th Grade TeacherSchool 11Clifton School District
SalemAndrea WendellScience TeacherPittsgrove Township Middle SchoolPittsgrove Township School District
SomersetCorinne LaurieHealth & Physical Education TeacherNorth Plainfield Middle SchoolNorth Plainfield School District
SussexTara ScrittoreKindergarten TeacherHamburg SchoolHamburg School District
UnionKristen HickmanSTEAM TeacherRoselle Park Middle SchoolRoselle Park School District
WarrenColleen GrzywaczVocal Music TeacherHackettstown Middle SchoolHackettstown School District


* This was the teacher’s position at the time of the award; she currently teaches at Stone Harbor Elementary School.

** The teacher recently retired.