NJEA and the Philadelphia Soul teamed up to recognize six NJEA members as VIPs of the game, after their colleagues wrote to us through our partnerships link to tell us about the outstanding work these members were doing with their students. VIPs were awarded special tickets in the field zone which included an open buffet, VIP parking, and a chance to meet some players and cheerleaders. The colleagues who nominated them were also winners. They received Blue Zone tickets along with parking and food & beverage vouchers. NJEA congratulates all of our Philadelphia Soul VIP’s of the game!

Here are the winners:

Jennifer Pilla-Martine is a third grade teacher in the Vineland school district in Cumberland County, New Jersey. She integrates patriotism and service to others in her students’ lessons. She successfully lobbied to have a brand new school in Vineland named after her brother, Dominick Pilla, who was killed in action on October 3, 1993 while serving our country as an elite US Army Ranger. Pride in America, in our military personnel, and in those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom was truly felt by all who attended the school naming ceremony. She teaches her students how to make positive changes in the world through political action and to never forget the history of our country, including those who have fought to maintain the freedoms that we have and enjoy.

Jarlin Torres is an Educational Support Professional at Burlington County Special Services Elementary School in Burlington County, New Jersey. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Widener University and has a special ability to connect with children in the pre-school classroom for disabled students where she works. In her role as an ESP she works with children with autism and cognitive disabilities on a daily basis. Ms. Torres provides them with the supports needed to have a positive and productive experience at school. She is a team player who eagerly helps her colleagues and students whenever she is asked. Her work ethic and dedication to her students and public education is recognized and applauded by many in her school community.

Maura Simister is a STEM teacher at Manchester Twp. Middle School in Ocean County, New Jersey. While writing and teaching the STEM curriculum in her school, she works tirelessly to ensure that all of her students find success in the science, technology, engineering, and math focused program. She also works countless hours to run the school’s Engineering Team which she instituted for students. Her ability to encourage and enlighten her students allows them to participate and compete in STEM related activities in the tri-state area. Ms. Simister is lauded by her colleagues for her dedication to her students and school community.

Gene Woods is a teacher in Bayonne High School in Hudson County, New Jersey. He goes above and beyond for his students by conducting an annual 7th grade Holocaust awareness program during which students can speak with survivors and hear their stories of struggle and recovery. The focus of the program promotes caring and respect for fellow human beings, regardless of differences, and denounces hate in all forms. Mr. Woods is the President-elect of the Bayonne Teachers’ Association and is also active in his county and state union. He is an advocate for the fair treatment of educators and students in the public school system. Mr. Woods is lauded by his colleagues for his dedication to his students, school community, and fellow union members.

Thomas Kelly is a teacher in Atlantic City High School in Atlantic County, New Jersey. He coached high school football for eight years and always goes above and beyond for his players and students. Mr. Kelly firmly believes that students should not sacrifice their academic goals due to playing sports. He started and ran an SAT class for his players over the summer months and would personally reach out to colleges in support of his students. Former students and players often return to visit Mr. Kelly to thank him for his support when they were in school.

Edward Dubroski is a physical education teacher at Three Bridges School in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Mr. Dubroski promotes a love of staying healthy and fit through the Jump Rope for Heart program that he runs in the Readington school district. Mr. Dubroski’s students have raised over $100,000 for the American Heart Association through this program. He is currently working with parent groups and the school community to raise funds for a new playground that will increase students’ opportunities for physical exercise during recess. Mr. Dubrowski works closely with his colleagues to ensure that physical education is embedded in students’ lessons so every day they are reminded of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

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