Outstanding English/Language Arts Educator Award

Educator of the Year 2015: Stephen Chiger

NJCTE proudly recognizes Stephen Chiger as its Outstanding Language Arts Educator of the Year. 


Stephen, Director of 5-12 Literacy at North Star Academy in Newark, holds a BA in English (summa cum laude) from Lafayette College, an MA in Journalism from Northwestern, where he was voted top media student, and an MA in Educational Leadership from Columbia.  At North Star he has managed the ELA program, spearheaded involvement with the Dodge Poetry Festival, and founded the journalism program and its nationally award-winning newspaper.

In addition, Stephen has served as President of the Garden State Scholastic Press Association and Co-director of the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop; he has been a contributing writer to The Huffington PostThe Academic Forum, and Education Week; and he  has led professional development workshops to help teachers prepare students for the Common Core.

Stephen's colleagues describe him as a "relentless pursuer of excellence," relentless both in pushing himself to be "more adept at his craft" and in pushing his students to become the "able students he had envisioned all along."  One teacher in particular writes:  "Stephen deserves our thanks and recognition for his commitment to excellence for himself, his students, and his colleagues."  We at NJCTE agree.

How to nominate an outstanding teacher

Nominations and self-nominations.


Each year the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE) recognizes an exceptional English/language arts educator -- a dedicated, innovative, dynamic educator whose activities have significantly and widely impacted New Jersey English language arts education. The selected educator becomes eligible as well for a coveted New Jersey Governor's Award in Arts Education.


Submit the name of a New Jersey pre-school to university teacher, supervisor, or administrator. Provide the opportunity for that special person to be added to the list of past recipients.


Completed applications must be submitted by November 30 of each year.

All nominations received remain viable for three (3) years.


Notification will occur no later than April 1 of each year.


Click below for an application form.  Please excuse us if any forms on this site have the wrong year.  Sometimes updating forms slips through the cracks, but the forms do not change.  They are applicable from year to year!

NJCTE Educator Award Application
Click here for the proper edition. Disregard any date discrepancies.
Microsoft Word Document [18.1 KB]

Previous Educator of the Year Award Recipients

Awards are given at the  annual Spring Conference.

2015:  Stephen Chiger, North Star Academy, Newark

2014:  Sarah Mulhern Gross, Technology High School, Lincroft 

2013:  Jennifer Ansbach, MA, Manchester Township High School

  2012:   Dr. Laura Nicosia, PhD, Montclair State University

  2011:    Dr. Liz deBeer, Point Pleasant Beach High School

  2008:  Dr. Patricia Schall, College of Saint Elizabeth


2007 Edie Weinthal, Pascack Valley Public Schools 1999 Lynn F. Carhart, Monmouth Regional HS, Tinton Falls
2006 Julie Cheville, Rutgers U 1997 Donna Clovis, Princeton Elementary
2005 Joseph Pizzo, Black River MS, Chester 1996 Maria Schantz, Montclair State U
2004 Susan Canter, Campbell ES/Edgar MS, Metuchen 1995 Herman Estrin, NJIT
2003 Eileen Dachnowicz, Cranford HS 1994 Alfred Weiss, Eastside HS, Paterson
2002 Marcia Holtzman, Metuchen Public Schools 1993 Muriel Becker, Montclair State U
2001 Nancy Gorrell, Morristown HS 1987 Adele Stern, Paramus HS
2000 Bettye Spinner, Moorestown HS 1981 Janet Emig, Rutgers U


Early Teacher Awards

The NJCTE Executive Board has created two new awards for early career teachers:

The M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award


The Marcia Holtzman Pre-Service Teacher Award

You may nominate an outstanding early career teacher and/or encourage an outstanding early career teacher to apply.

Applications are due by February of each year.

We look forward to receiving your nominations and applications!


For more information about these awards, click below.  Please excuse any date discrepancies.  Our forms apply to each year.

M Jerry Weiss Award
information about the M. Jerry Weiss Award for teachers early in their career.
Microsoft Word Document [39.6 KB]
Marcia Holtzman Award
information about the Marcia Holtzman Award for pre-service teachers.
Microsoft Word Document [22.3 KB]

Previous Weiss and Holtzman Award Recipients

20145 M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award recipient:

To be announced at our Spring Conference.

2015 Marcia Holzman Pre-service Teacher Award recipients: 

To be announced at our Spring Conference.  Please join us.

2014 M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award recipient:

Kristen Angelo. Union Catholic High School.

2014 Marcia Holzman Pre-service Teacher Award recipients: 

Rachel Berger.  Montclair State University.


2013 M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award recipients:

                        David Eisenberg.  English Teacher/School Librarian.

           Glen Meadow Middle School, Vernon Township.

Kathryn Fraser Whitely.  English Teacher.

         Saint Vincent Academy, Newark.

         Graduate Student, College of Saint Elizabeth

2013 Marcia Holzman Pre-service Teacher Award recipients:

Christopher Crowley.  Teacher's Aide.  Madison Junior School,  Graduate Student,College of Saint Elizabeth

Victoria Viola.  The College of New Jersey

Guenevere Zucker.  Montclair State University


2012 M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award recipients:

Aimee Ambrose, Special Education Kindergarten Aide, Bloomfield

Elizabeth Dunn, English Teacher, Hightstown H.S.

Kathleen Tobin, Union Catholic H.S., Scotch Plains, NJ

2012 Marcia Holzman Pre-service Teacher Award recipients:

Megan Bolger, MSU, Little Falls, NJ

Giuliana Cocilovo, MSU, Caldwell, NJ

Daniela Maria Conte, TCNJ, Kinnelon, NJ

Steven Criscuolo, MSU, Manalapan, NJ

Michaela Ensminger, TCNJ, Marlton, NJ

Lauren Fitzsimmons, TCNJ, Bound Brook, NJ

Allison Greer, TCNJ, Edison, NJ

Kelly Kosch, TCNJ, Brick, NJ

Amanda Rhea, TCNJ, Cherry Hill, NJ

Ashley Robinson, CSE, Somerville, NJ


2011 M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Award recipients:

Vanessa Rasmussen, Vineland H.S., Vineland

Lisa Anne MacDonald, Rev. George A. Brown Memorial H.S., Sparta

Henry Baldwin, Bergenfield H.S., Bergenfield

Kristine Mintel, Union Catholic H.S., Scotch Plains

2011 Marcia Holzman Pre-service Teacher Award recipients:

                   Jessica DeNizio, Student Teacher, Black River M.S., Chester; College of St. Elizabeth

                  Janine Sullivan, Teacher Candidate/Practicum Student, Governor Livingston H.S.;

                                    Berkeley Heights, College of St. Elizabeth