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  • Writer's pictureMohammed Fuad

2023 Teachers of the Year

Anderson, Clark, Dooley

and Yeats selected

Courtesy Photos Hammonton’s 2023 Governor’s Educators of the Year for 2023 have been announced. They are (l-r): Stefanie Dooley from the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center Reńee C. Clark from Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School, Maureen Anderson from Hammonton Middle School and Kelly Yeats from Hammonton High School.

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Public School District announced their 2023 recipients of the Governor’s Educators of the Year. The honorees are as follows: Maureen Anderson of Hammonton Middle School, Renee Clark of Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School, Stefanie Dooley of the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center and Kelly Yeats of Hammonton High School.

Maureen Anderson taught at Lindenwold Middle School before joining Hammonton Middle School in 2007, according to the Hammonton School District. She has taught special education ELA both in-class Resource and Learning Resource, working with numerous cooperating teachers at multiple grade levels.

Anderson graduated from Rowan University with a bachelor’s degree in special education in 2006 and a master’s degree as a reading specialist in 2016 and is currently working on becoming Wilson certified. Anderson was an original member of the Renaissance Steering Committee, organizes the People’s Choice Award and helped establish and participates in Hammonton Middle School’s dog therapy program, according to the Hammonton School District.

For Anderson, teaching is unique to her in the sense that every single child is different and that what works for one student and class might not work for another, which forces her to keep thinking differently.

“The best part of teaching is watching a student grasp a concept they didn’t understand before. Helping a student understand, learn and grow is the best part,” Anderson said.

Anderson is humbled and flattered by being nominated by her peers for the recognition and that Hammonton Middle School is full of teachers that are not only excellent at what they do, but they make the people around them want to be better.

“Because I am a special education teacher, I have had the privilege of working with many teachers in inclusion settings. Watching others teach and instruct at such a high caliber has made me want to be better and continue to grow as an educator,” Anderson said.

Renee Clark has taught fourth grade at Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School (Sooy) for the last 23 years and has striven to make her classroom an ideal place for students to learn each day. While being an engaging, creative and highly effective teacher who makes learning fun, she is also compassionate as she gets to know her students on a personal level, according to the Hammonton School District.

Clark is also involved in many programs, activities and initiatives as she is a founding member of the school’s Renaissance Steering Committee and is involved with their School Climate program as well as being their fourth grade Curriculum/Instruction Coordinator for years, according to the Hammonton School District.

Clark was completely overwhelmed when she was announced as one of the honorees and calls it a true honor to be chosen by her peers as one of the Educators of the Year.

“These past few years with COVID-19 have been a challenge for all teachers, and I truly feel every teacher is worthy of this award. However, the recognition is so special to me because it comes from my WES family. I am truly humbled to be nominated by my colleagues that I work so closely with daily,” Clark said.

Clark tries to instill her love for learning with her students as she considers herself a life-long learner and loves teaching new things. Watching them grow as individuals and learners and seeing how she impacted their lives drives my excitement for teaching every day.

“Education has changed so much over the years, and as a teacher, you must be able to adapt and roll with it. Not only do I love learning new things whether it’d be technology, lesson ideas/strategies, curriculum or a new program, I also love teaching my students and getting them excited about their learning”, Clark said.

Stefanie Dooley began her career as an instructional aide and long-term substitute teacher in the Hammonton School District in 2013 before becoming a K-1 special education teacher in 2014 at Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC), according to Hammonton School District.

Dooley received her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from Penn State University and her master’s degree in special education from Grand Canyon University.

She serves as both a staff development trainer and mentor in ECEC’s Crisis Prevention and Intervention team and has applied for and received numerous grants from the Hammonton Education Fund (HEF) for various projects at ECEC, including a sensory room and sensory path, pedal walker bicycles and equipment for Tre-Cafe, a breakfast cart operated by students at ECEC. Dooley has been a teacher at ECEC’s yoga club and has recently helped establish ECEC’s first Food Bank, according to the Hammonton School District.

Dooley is honored to be ECEC’s Teacher of the Year and admits that she is still in shock, as she was surprised to hear her name being called and is extremely appreciative of the support.

“This recognition is so special because my peers voted for me! Every year when the time comes to vote, I personally take the time to consider who to vote for.

“So knowing I was the person who my peers voted for is truly an honor. ECEC is such a special place to work and is filled with amazing teachers and support staff. So many people are deserving of this honor,” Dooley said.

Being a special education teacher, the best part about her job is watching her students meet their goals.

“We celebrate each success in my classroom and watching the students grow in any area from day one to day 50, then to day 100 and day 180 is amazing,” Dooley said.

Kelly Yeats has taught mathematics for 30 years and has taught mathematics at Hammonton High School for 21 of those years, according to the Hammonton School District. Prior to Hammonton High School, she taught at Edgewood Junior High School and was the Student Government advisor. Yeats received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Trenton State College, now known as The College of New Jersey.

Yeats teaches honors and college prep geometry, has been a mentor for six new teachers, has been in charge of our school’s “Support on Site” committee for multiple years, a Hammonton Education Association Representative Council member and one of the instructional leaders of Hammonton High School. In addition, she was also in charge of the Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Dinner, St. Jude Fundraiser, Road Clean-Up and Semi-Formal dance, according to the Hammonton School District.

Yeats is deeply honored and humbled by the recognition and believes that Hammonton High School has a lot of dynamic educators whom she admires, so the acknowledgement means the world to her.

“This recognition is special because it was chosen by my colleagues, whom I respect and admire greatly. I am pleased that they regarded my work as worthy of this recognition,” Yeats said.

Yeats enjoys many things about teaching as she calls every day a unique experience for both her and the students.

“Each student brings a fresh perspective to class and I enjoy the class discussions that we have. I love to hear the methods that the students employ in solving problems, especially when it is a totally different, but mathematically correct approach,” Yeats said.

To Maureen Anderson, Renee Clark, Stefanie Dooley and Kelly Yeats, the Hammonton Gazette would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations on being recognized as the Governor’s Educators of the Year’s Teacher of the Year for 2023.


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