For the first time since 1972, a New Jersey State Teacher of the Year is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year. Congratulations Amy! 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, was named the 2017-18 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year in the beginning of October 2017.

NJEA’s elected officers praised Andersen’s national recognition.

“Amy Andersen embodies the true spirit of the profession. Earning national recognition signifies the deep influences she’s had on her students and her community,” NJEA President Marie Blistan said praising her selection.  “Ms. Andersen’s relentless passion for her students is infectious, and her work is profoundly moving. This prestigious honor could be bestowed upon no better person and certainly no better teacher.”

“Amy Andersen’s ability to effectuate positive change inspires us all. In a time when students are increasingly exposed to examples of poor moral character, Ms. Andersen’s commitment to her students and to imparting on them the value of being inclusive and caring serves as a beacon of hope,” said NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller. ”I am so happy for her, and I am even happier for the countless lives she will touch as a result of this honor.”

“I’m so proud that New Jersey’s own Amy Andersen has garnered the national recognition it deserves. Her selfless commitment to others can teach us all,” noted NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “An educator at her core, Ms. Andersen was called to this profession and now, with this recognition, the profession calls her on the national stage.”

The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. Each year, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) brings together State Teachers of the Year from the 50 states, U.S. territories, DC, and the Department of Defense Education Activity for a year of professional learning, and facilitates the selection of the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY). In the process, the national program selects four finalists out of the State Teacher of the Year applications to finally compete for National Teacher of the Year.

Since 1969, New Jersey has been participating in the National Teacher of the Year Program overseen by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), however New Jersey has never had any of our outstanding State Teachers of the Year qualify as a finalist, let alone be named a National Teacher of the Year.

Should Andersen be selected as the National Teacher of the Year, during her official year of recognition, she is released from classroom duties to travel nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession. NTOYs speak at over 150 events each year before audiences ranging from several hundred to over 10,000 and are often asked to sit on national and state commissions and policy advising bodies.

More information can be found at http://www.ccsso.org/national-teacher-of-the-year

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