TRENTON, NJ - Nancy McHugh, a teacher at Saint Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, New Jersey, and Johnathan Brooks, a teacher at Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy in Elizabeth, New Jersey, have been named co-winners of the New Jersey Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year Award for 2015 in a competition sponsored by the New Jersey Council for American Private Education (NJCAPE). This annual award will be presented on Tuesday, October 13, at a ceremony scheduled for noon at the Diocese of Trenton Pastoral Center, 701 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ.
Ms. McHugh has spent 11 years in education, all of them at Saint Augustine’s Prep. Mr. Brooks has served for 13 years in education, six of which have been at his current school. Ms. McHugh received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Business Administration and Finance, both from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Mr. Brooks earned a Bachelor of Science from Philadelphia University and a Master of Education from Seton Hall University.
Ms. McHugh has taught a variety of science subjects at Saint Augustine including Chemistry, Honors Chemistry I and II, and Environmental Science, the latter two of which she personally introduced into the school. She also has taught summer enrichment programs, study skills, and classroom management to both students and teachers. She maintains membership in the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS), the American Chemical Society, and the Simple K-12 Teacher Learning Community.
Ms. McHugh has been a volunteer for Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity, a meet official for the Tri-County Swimming Association, and a participant in the Vineland Rotary Project Green Atlantic City Beach Clean-up. She has worked with the Vineland School District Holiday Party for Special Needs Students and as a fundraising coordinator involved in “Pennies for Patients” (sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and the Canuso Foundation program “Babes in Dodgeball.”
She uses the metaphor of a bridge in describing her philosophy of education. She attempts to determine student needs and then builds a bridge to that student to create a partnership, thus infusing brain-based learning and 21st century skill development into her lessons.
Mr. Brooks is a highly acclaimed first grade teacher who enjoys creating positive attitudes for his students toward their academic careers during the early stages. He has infused his experience at Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy with the creation of a math center and has encouraged his colleagues at the Academy to do so in other grades. He provides professional development in the form of seminars/demonstrations on academic technology and techniques.
The Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year award is conducted under the auspices of the New Jersey Council for American Private Education (NJ CAPE). Each member of NJ CAPE, which represents all major nonpublic school constituencies in New Jersey, is invited to submit a nominee for the award. That nominee has already competed within the organization’s schools to achieve finalist status. Additionally, individual schools with no representation on NJ CAPE are invited to nominate members of their own staff. The award is significant because almost one out of every eight students in New Jersey is educated in a nonpublic school, a significantly higher percentage than the nation as a whole.
Dr. George Corwell, Director of the Office of Education for the New Jersey Catholic Conference and Chairperson of the Selection Committee for the award, commented on the experience of selecting this year’s winner:
The extremely competitive process involving the selection of a winner was quite difficult as a result of the talent of the nominated educators. Thus, the selection committee decided to award co-winners this year.
Nancy McHugh and Johnathan Brooks are committed to the highest level of professional growth as well as to quality instruction and character development in their students. Their dedication and the dedication of so many other teachers in nonpublic schools advance the lives of both nonpublic school children and the communities in which they live.
Sponsorship for the Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year was provided by Catapult Learning, Inc., William Sadlier, Inc., and ConnectOne Bank as well as individual organizations within NJCAPE. Dr. Corwell noted that “these companies have shown exceptional leadership in education within the state of New Jersey and nonpublic schools, and we are grateful for their continued support of this important award.”
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