Amy Andersen, a high school American Sign Language (ASL) teacher at Ocean City High School in the Ocean City School District in Cape May County, has been named the 2017-18 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. Franklin Butterick, President of Ocean City Education Association, states, “I’m very excited that Amy Andersen has been chosen to represent the district and the state as an example of our profession. Amy’s passion for her students and the deaf community is a great example for us all to follow.”
Andersen, who was named the 2017-18 Cape May County Teacher of the Year in the spring, grew up in Cape May County. She earned a bachelor’s degree in flute performance from Indiana University and a master’s degree in deaf education from McDaniel College. Andersen also achieved national board certification in Exceptional Needs Specialist: Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
After nine years in Boston, Massachusetts as a teacher of the deaf, she returned to her roots in 2004 to raise a family. It was then, with 42 students, that Andersen began the ASL program at Ocean City High School. Community oriented activities, such as ASL socials at local coffee shops and evening performances which raise funds for scholarships immerse students in deaf and hard of hearing culture helping them to build confidence. Her popular and respected program has galvanized her students and community, inspiring a number of students to pursue ASL-related careers.
Cape May County Education Association President Kathleen Parker states, “We have so many deserving teachers in New Jersey, but I am extremely proud that the state teacher of the year for 2018 comes from Cape May County. Amy will be an exemplary role model for teachers throughout the state and even our nation as she represents our profession.”
“Here in New Jersey, we have exceptional educators and the candidates for Teacher of the Year show just how impressive they really are. We congratulate Amy Andersen on receiving this tremendous honor this year. She has earned the accolades and we know she will serve as a wonderful example of the educational excellence serving in our New Jersey public schools. NJEA is proud to partner with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and Educational Testing Services (ETS) on the Teacher of the Year program, highlighting these inspiring individuals,” said Sean M. Spiller, Vice President of NJEA and the officer liaison to the Teacher of the Year program.
Andersen will be a featured speaker at the 2017 NJEA Convention. She will be speaking at the Celebration of Excellence on Friday, Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m. in the Convention Center, Room 302.
As the New Jersey Teacher of the Year, Andersen 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 six other finalists, with the SMART Classroom Technology Package, which includes hardware and software.
NJEA will provide Andersen 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 president of the United States.