Delran Township Public Schools is blessed with a sterling teaching staff in all of its schools. The district and New Jersey Department of Education participate in the New Jersey Teacher of the Year Program and the Governor’s Teacher/Educational Services Professionals Recognition Program. This program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success. Further, it seeks to attract public attention to the positive aspects of our educational system.
The school district has engaged in a process that allows for four teacher and one educational support professional to be honored for outstanding professionalism and student support. We are happy to honor the following staff members with supportive comments from their colleagues and our Teacher of the Year Committees…
Christine Dillon: Millbridge Elementary School, Elementary Teacher
After spending the first part of her career teaching in a neighboring district for several years, Mrs. Dillon has found her home at Millbridge Elementary serving the Delran community for the past thirteen years as both a kindergarten and transitional first grade teacher. She has been a mentor teacher and works to help those aspiring and new to the profession. During her tenure in Delran she has served on numerous committees, and currently is a member of our language arts committee through which she has piloted many new programs and worked tirelessly to move forward instructional practices in that area. She advocates for education, students, and her colleagues and always works to ensure that we are focused on our mission to serve the students of Delran. The greatest testament to why she deserves this honor is the success of the students who leave her program and excel in subsequent years. In one of her nominations, it was stated that one only has to spend a moment in the “Pickle Patch” to understand the investment she makes, daily, in the growth students she teaches — their academic growth, their social and emotional growth — and beyond everything, the growth of their perseverance, effort and confidence. Millbridge Elementary School is pleased to recognize this very deserving individual.
Jason Caldwell: Delran Intermediate School, Elementary Teacher
Jason is an exceptional teacher. He is able to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. Jason is a skilled and dedicated educator who continually strives to bring out the best in all of his students. He participates in professional development to enhance his content knowledge and to improve his teaching skills. Jason plays an active role in the school community, as well by participating in advocacy with the Delran Senior Center, Pennies for Patients, organizes the annual teacher appreciation day at the Phillies, is piloting a new literacy program, is a member of the Math Committee and is a Math Leadership Advisor for the 2015-2016 school year, writes math curriculum and works after school and in the summer to hone his craft.
Carol Wolf: Delran Middle School, Teacher of English
It is with great please that the Delran Middle School Teacher of the Year Committee recommends Mrs. Carol Wolf for Teacher of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year. Mrs. Wolf exhibits respect for her students by creating a sense of community and belongingness in her classroom. She is warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. Mrs. Wolf’s smile welcomes students. She grasps them with her love of learning and challenges her students by setting high expectations. Once students move on from sixth grade, they always come back to visit Mrs. Wolf, remembering how important she made them feel.
Mrs. Wolf continuously proves her flexibility inside and outside the classroom on a regular basis by wearing many hats. She leads by example as the Team 6B Team Leader. Mrs. Wolf can be found on sidelines cheering on Delran Middle School teams with the Spirit Squad. She is a coach, encouraging and guiding her players on the basketball court and serving as an advisor to the Cub Courier School Newspaper. She displays a work ethic that does not quit.
Mrs. Wolf maintains professionalism in all areas from organizational skills and preparedness for the day to effective communication. She collaborates and works as team with her colleagues. Mrs. Wolf is always willing to go the extra mile for her students, as well as her colleagues.
David Atkinson: Delran High School, Teacher of Science
Dave Atkinson is a consummate professional who embodies everything an educator should be. He is intelligent, he genuinely cares about each of his students, and he is consistently able to deliver quality instruction to all levels of students.
Most generally (and this might sound like an oversimplification), Mr. Atkinson knows things about a lot of things. He is an expert in his discipline, and I know few teachers who enmesh themselves in their area of expertise to the extent that Mr. Atkinson does. On weekends, he visits nature preserves and parks to learn more about ecology and the animals that are both resident to and migrating through those areas. A meteorologist by training, “Dewpoint” Dave studies computer models and weather patterns even when he isn’t teaching the Meteorology course at DHS. It is impossible for those who know Mr. Atkinson well to overlook his commitment to science–and to science education–and I truly appreciate and am thankful for the example he sets for his students and colleagues.
As a product of the Delran Township Schools, he is a role model for present day students. He understands where the students are coming from and this link helps him bring out the best in all of his students. Perhaps most notable about Mr. Atkinson is his intellectual curiosity–and the extent to which extends well beyond his own personal areas of expertise. In everyday conversations, both with his colleagues and his students, Mr. Atkinson consistently exhibits a genuine desire to learn. He seeks to understand various aspects of students’ culture and heritage, inquires about news or music that interests them, and in general, always seeks to understand what matters the most to others. People recognize and appreciate this about Mr. Atkinson, and his curiosity inspires others to embrace and act on their own inquisitiveness. This type of intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge and an understanding of our fellow citizens, obviously, is the primary characteristic of a lifelong learning–and this, I think, what most of us want above all else for our students.
Mr. Atkinson is also dedicated to the students outside of the classroom. When you ask former students to describe Mr. Atkinson they always mention words like energetic, funny, encouraging and passionate. Year after year he helps develop students to excel in Science League competitions. He is a driving force in why the Golden Regiment Band is so successful. He is also an excellent class advisor. Not only does Mr. Atkinson have the respect of the students, he has the respect of his fellow teachers. He is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it.
Dave Atkinson truly exhibits the qualities that make him an excellent Teacher of the Year.
Lori Volz, District Speech Language Specialist
Lori Volz has been an outstanding educational services professional for many years. Not only does she help young learners to develop confidence and positive attitudes while they struggle with obstacles related to their speech and learning needs, she is an active part of these students’ lives beyond the school day. She spent 8 years as a class advisor, she has been a volunteer coach, and is a frequent attendee at after-school events. Mrs. Volz has worked with Delran graduates who are studying the field of speech pathology, and has accompanied students who go to speech support groups after school hours and on the weekends. She has intervened in classroom situations to educate teachers about the needs that her students face, and to advocate for these students at time when they still struggle to self-advocate. She is a caring, compassionate woman and the consummate professional. She is respected by her colleagues and is loved by all whom have had the privilege to either work with her or be taught by her. She is also dedicated to life-long learning and stays current with her professional organization’s standards and techniques. There isn’t anything that Lori Volz can’t do, and there’s certainly no limits to what she will do to help her students to succeed.
Please join me and the District in congratulating our newest honorees!