At its 2019 commencement ceremonies on June 4, Princeton University honored four outstanding New Jersey public high school teachers—all NJEA members—with the Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching. The teachers were selected for the award based on nominations from public and private schools around the state. They each will receive $5,000, as well as $3,000 for their school libraries.
This year’s honorees are Kimberly Dickstein, an English teacher at Haddonfield Memorial High School; Kevin Killian, a mathematics teacher and robotics adviser at Pascack Hills High School; Petrina Plunkett, a seventh-grade language arts teacher and literacy coach at Lawrence Middle School; and Dr. Arun Srivastava, a teacher at High Tech High School in Secaucus.
Killian is an association representative for the Pascack Valley Regional Education Association and Dickstein is the chair of the PRIDE Committee for the Haddonfield Education Association.
Dickstein, her students and a former child soldier from South Sudan were the subjects of the cover story in the January 2019 NJEA Review, “If You Can Help, You Must.” The article reported on Dickstein’s and her students’ fundraising campaign to assist Garang Buk Buk Piol, a former child soldier turned humanitarian, attend graduate school at Emory University. On his return to South Sudan, Garang will use his education to help develop and strengthen communities there.
“It is a great honor for our members to receive the Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “I am delighted that Princeton University seeks to honor the important work our members do in New Jersey’s public schools every day. I know that NJEA’s 200,000 members join me in congratulating Kimberly, Kevin, Petrina and Arun.”
“Although the four prize winners teach across a range of subject areas, grade levels and types of schools, they all demonstrate a remarkable ability to profoundly influence the lives of their students,” said Todd Kent, director of Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation. “Each of these individuals is a masterful teacher, but their influence extends well beyond the walls of their classrooms. The work of these four teachers is truly inspiring, and they remind us that teachers play such important and meaningful roles in their communities, as well.”
You can read more about each honoree here.