Joseph Nappi named 2023-2024 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year

Joseph (Joe) Nappi is a high school social studies teacher at Monmouth Regional High School, in Tinton Falls, NJ.   He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education from Rowan University. Since beginning his teaching career with Monmouth Regional School District, he has been fortunate to follow his passions teaching U.S. History, as well as teaching classes about the Holocaust, Genocide, and Modern Humanity. The United States Holocaust Museum, in Washington D.C., granted him the opportunity to serve as a Museum Teacher Fellow since 2019. Over 600 of his students have visited the museum, in addition to engaging in campaigns to stop human trafficking, among others.

Nappi’s passion for equality, equity and protecting one’s human rights have led him and his students to “be the change” they wish to see in the world. In the summer of 202, Nappi worked with a national group of educators to develop lesson plans for the PBS/Ken Burns’ documentary “the US and the Holocaust.” Nappi has been widely recognized for his contributions to educating students about the human rights conflicts through history including the present. In addition to the honor of being the 2021 and 2023 Monmouth Regional High School, the 2023-2024 Monmouth County Teacher of the Year, he has also been recognized for the Dr. Frank Kaplowitz Human Rights Educator of the Year Award from Kean University in 2017 and the Ida and Jeff Margolis Medallion for Excellence in Multicultural Education from Rowan University in 2005.


“Congratulations to Joe Nappi, on this wonderful recognition,” said NJEA President Sean M. Spiller. “Joe is building a brighter future for students and public schools, because of his principles of truth and knowledge, strong character, and his desire to see his students not only succeed but flourish. It is his thoughtful and honest approach that inspires students and colleagues alike, and now he will be able to share that passion across the state. We have the distinction of being the best public education system in the nation, because of teachers like Joe Nappi.”

“As we look around at all the uncertainty that threatens our basic human rights,” stated Steve Beatty, NJEA vice-president, “Joe Nappi is the teacher we need, who can lead the critical conversations with our students and communities about what we can do to change the course of humanity. He has earned this distinction by sharing with his student and colleagues his passion for “doing the right thing” and championing civil and human rights. We are so proud to recognize Joe for this esteemed honor.”

“The educators in our schools lead with compassion and care for their students,” said NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Petal Robertson. “Joe is a leading example of this, especially as he strives to educate his high school students to think critically and ask questions, to unearth the truth and to share the stories that they find and to constantly strive to be better and do better in the world. We are honored to work with Joe, his craft and skill as a teacher is a testament to this recognition.”

Monmouth County Education Association President Denise King and NJEA Vice President Steve Beatty congratulated Joe Nappi, NJ State Teacher of the Year.

Some of the perks of being the New Jersey Teacher of the Year, are that Nappi is entitled to an all-expense paid, six-month sabbatical from January through June 2024 to attend national and state conferences, to tour the state visiting classrooms and to work on various initiatives at the New Jersey Department of Education, courtesy of program sponsor ETS. ETS also provides $3,000 worth of technology equipment. NJEA will provide a rental car, equipped with EZ Pass, to help him 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.

Nappi is also one of the 2023-24 County Teachers of the Year. Learn more about these excellent educators.