A kindergarten teacher was named Bloomfield school district’s teacher of the year, and will now move on to the statewide Teacher of the Year competition.
Linda Strutz was selected as the district teacher of the year among hundreds of other teachers in Bloomfield's 11 schools. Strutz is a 14-year veteran at Berkeley Elementary School where she teaches kindergarten.
“It’s kind of exciting,” said Strutz. “Teachers are not the type of people that like to boast or brag about themselves, so it’s difficult ... and awkward for me because I am usually doing that for the children I work with.”
Strutz said that former students have been stopping by to congratulate her and she has received emails from teachers and parents.
“I’m a very positive person,” said Strutz about her teaching methods. “I try to find the good in every situation and I feel I’m always learning from the teachers I work with.”
And since she won the award at the end of December, some of her youngest students have been inquiring whether she will now be taking over as principal, said Strutz with a laugh.
Strutz said that she has seen many changes in eduction and classroom instruction during her tenure. Her students in kindergarten are now learning to read by the end of the year, when that was typically a goal set for first graders in the past. The constant changes and improvements, she said, are what keep the job exciting.
“It always feels fresh,” said Strutz. “It doesn’t get old or humdrum. Everyday is a new day and everyday brings something fun and something to smile about. That’s what I enjoy.”
Now Strutz will be in the running for the New Jersey Teacher of the Year. This statewide award has been given out for more than a decade, yet neither a Bloomfield nor Essex County educator has won it.
The statewide winner will be announced in October. However, Strutz will first have to go against more than two dozen district winners in state's Essex County in the County Teacher of the Year competition before she can be considered for Teacher of the Year.
Among the other finalists in Bloomfield for the district Teacher of the Year award were:
- Brookdale: Deanna Simone
- Carteret: Jean Barbetta
- Demarest: Rosemary Vetrano
- Fairview: Melissa Covey
- Franklin: Amber Salvato
- Oak View: Donna Sabol
- Watsessing: Amanda Eineker
- Bloomfield Middle School: Beverly Raphael
- Bloomfield High School: Debbie Barowski
- Bridges Academy: John Geczy