Meet New Jersey’s 2021-22 County Teachers of the Year

NJEA is proud to join with students, school employees, parents and others in congratulating the 2021-22 New Jersey County Teachers of the Year.

“Our schools are number one in the nation. Looking at this year’s cadre of our county teachers of the year, there is no question how New Jersey garners this distinction. These amazing educators are recognized for their dedication and success in working with our students. This is a well-earned and well-deserved title,” said NJEA President-elect Sean M. Spiller.

“These exemplary educators represent the quality educators we have working in our great public schools. Their hard work and dedication to our students serve not just our students but also our communities,” said NJEA Vice President-elect Steve Beatty.

“These teachers represent the 200,000 NJEA members making a difference in our schools and communities. They are what make New Jersey number one in the nation for another year,” said NJEA Secretary-Treasurer-elect Petal Robertson.

County Teachers of the Year are encouraged to apply for the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year recognition. The New Jersey Teacher of the Year Program and the Governor’s Teacher/Educational Services Professionals Recognition Program have been integrated into the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program.  This updated program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success.  The educator chosen for this recognition is named at the New Jersey State Board of Education meeting in October. The 2020-21 recipient is Angel Santiago, a Camden County elementary school teacher at Loring Flemming Elementary school in Blackwood, New Jersey.

Learn more about our 2021-22 County Teachers of the Year below.


James House, a high school science teacher at Egg Harbor Township High School in the Egg Harbor Township School District.


Kim Clancey, a 2nd grade teacher at Ridge Ranch Elementary School in the Paramus School District.


Michelle Poolaw, a basic skills math and compacted math teacher for grades 1-4 at Hillside Elementary School in the Mount Laurel School District.


Sonia Chugh, an ESL teacher at LEAP Academy University Charter School in the LEAP Academy University Charter School.

Cape May

Lee Ann Tarr, a Kindergarten teacher at Cape May City Elementary School in Cape May City School District.


Samantha Johnson Boyer, a prekindergarten teacher at C.F. Seabrook Elementary School in the Upper Deerfield Township School District.


Theresa Maughan, a high school Social Studies teacher at East Orange STEM Academy in the East Orange School District.


Lynne Bussott, a 2nd grade teacher at Gov. Charles C. Stratton School in the Swedesboro-Woolrich School District.


Kimberley Madalena, a Language Arts Literacy teacher for 8th grade at Washington Middle School in the Harrison School District.


Teresa DeSapio DIaz, a Commercial Arts/Advertising Design and 3D Computer Animation Instructor at Hunterdon County Polytech in the Hunterdon County Vocational schools.


Brittany Thomas, a 4th grade teacher at the Robbins Elementary School in the Trenton Public Schools.


Melissa Vega, a Bilingual teacher for grades 6th-8th at New Brunswick Middle School in the New Brunswick School District.


Alyssa Geary, a Special Education and English Language Arts teacher for grades 7th-8th at Red Bank Middle School in the Red Bank Borough School District.


Jonathan Dowler, a Social Studies teacher at West Morris Mendham High School in the West Morris Regional School District.


Michael DeRiggi, a 5th grade Regular Education/ Inclusion teacher at North Dover Elementary School in the Toms River Regional School District.


Tammy Nicole Cooper, a teacher of English Language Arts at Passaic High School in the Passaic School District.


Julie Knight, a high school Social Studies teacher at Woodstown High School in the Woodstown-Pilesgrove School District.


Darrin Wolsko, a high school Biology and Human Biology teacher at Watchung Hills Regional High School in the Watchung Hills Regional School District.


Shawna Longo, a preschool and 1st grade teacher at Durban Avenue School in the Hopatcong Borough School District.


Dennis Dagounis, a high school science teacher at Roselle Park High School in the Roselle Park School District.


Faith Roncoroni, a high school English teacher at Phillipsburg High School in the Phillipsburg School District.