Argine Safari, a high school music teacher at Pascack Valley High School in the Pascack Valley Regional School District in Bergen County, has been named the 2016-17 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. Deborah Horn, President of Pascack Valley Regional Education Association, states, “I’m very excited and very proud that Argine Safari has been chosen to represent the district and the state as an example of our profession. She is a treasure.”  Photo Gallery Gallery

An award-winning music educator and advocate, vocal coach, clinician and conductor, Safari is active as a pianist and vocalist, having performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, MSG, Zankel Hall.  Safari, who was named the 2016-17 Bergen County Teacher of the Year, has completed her B.S. from Brooklyn College, B.A. from Yerevan State Musical College in Armenia (Summa Cum Laude), M. A. (Magna Cum Laude) from Moscow State Conservatory in Russia, and studied at Juilliard and Westminster Choir College.

At Pascack Valley High School District, Safari has developed a nationally-recognized vocal program and established new vocal groups and courses including an all-male a cappella group, Tri-M National Music Honor Society Chapters Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley, and initiated and authored the district-wide keyboard course, and the Advanced Placement Music Theory course. In September 2014, she has established and ran a successful one-day Youth Chorus Workshop and Festival for talented young singers in grades 5-9 from Bergen County.

Bergen County Education Association President Sue McBride states, “Bergen County is so proud of all of its educators.  The New Jersey Department of Education had an exceptional roster of educators to choose from, but we are exhilarated and proud that the state teacher of year for 2016-17 comes from Bergen County. Argine’s excitement and passion for teaching comes across loud and clear, and she will be an exemplary role model for teachers across New Jersey.”

“NJEA is proud of our partnership with New Jersey Department of Education and ETS on the Teacher of the Year program. Argine Safari is an excellent example of the kind of passion and enthusiasm found in our profession. Her students know it, her colleagues know it, and now the rest of NJ will know it, ” says Marie Blistan, Vice President of NJEA and the officer contact to the Teacher of the Year program.

Safari will be a featured speaker at the 2016 NJEA Convention. She will be speaking at the Celebration of Excellence on Friday, Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the Convention Center, Hall A.

As the New Jersey Teacher of the Year, Safari will have a six-month sabbatical to tour the state and work with the New Jersey Department of Education, courtesy of program sponsor ETS. ETS also provides a new laptop computer. SMART Technologies will provide the State Teacher of the Year, as well as the four finalists, with the SMART Classroom Technology Package, which includes hardware and software.

NJEA will provide Safari with a rental car, equipped with EZ Pass, to help her travel to speaking engagements and meetings across the state. NJEA also will provide complimentary access to all major NJEA workshops and training opportunities, a $500 clothing allowance, media training and communications support, and funding for a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with the other state teachers of the year and the next president of the United States.

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