Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hoboken Educator is State’s Teacher of the Year

Children playing at Hudson County Park (1909)
(Columbus Park, Hoboken NJ)
Photo: Hoboken Historical Collection 
A Hoboken special education teacher, who is an ardent supporter of using technology to enhance teaching of autistic students, has been selected the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year for 2014-2015.
Teacher Mark Mautone, who teaches preschool autistic children at Wallace Elementary School in Hoboken, was honored by Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe and the state Board of Education at a ceremony in Trenton last week.
Six finalists from around the state were also honored at the ceremony.
An educator for 19 years, Mautone is an advocate of using technology in the classroom. He has given presentations from New York City to San Francisco on topics such as using apps to help children with disabilities.
“Mr. Mautone has a deep enthusiasm for helping his students overcome the challenges they face so that they can receive the best experience possible in the classroom,” Hespe said. “He is an inspiration to teachers, parents and members of the community.”
Mautone is also actively involved in autism support groups, and serves on numerous professional advisory boards and task forces that help disabled children, and that help increase understanding of disabled individuals. He has also organized training for teachers, parents and students on autism and bullying.
“It is my belief that all children, despite the obstacles, deserve the highest quality of education possible so that they can learn to their maximum potential and lead a productive life as independently as possible,” Mautone wrote in his application.
Mautone, who began working as an instructional assistant with disabled children 19 years ago, received his bachelor’s degree from Kean University and a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University.
The other six finalists for State Teacher of the Year were Stephanie Cardoso, a fifth-grade teacher from Martin Luther King Elementary School in Edison; Peter Davis, a technology teacher from Belhaven Avenue Middle School in Linwood; Cynthia Leatherwood, an English teacher from Dennis Township Middle School; Salvatore Lima, a science teacher from West Caldwell Tech, within the Essex County Vocational School District; Kathryn Tricarico, a kindergarten teacher from Adamsville Primary School in the Bridgewater-Raritan School District; and Coleen Weiss-Magasic, a science teacher from West Milford Township High School.
The Teacher of the Year program is administered by the New Jersey Department of Education, with winners selected based on their applications and interview sessions with an independent panel of educators. The process begins each year at the local level, where school and district-level winners are selected, and progresses through the county level, and then the state.
The winner receives a six-month sabbatical, sponsored by the Educational Testing Service, during which time the Teacher of the Year works with the state education department on special projects.
The State Teacher of the Year also gives presentations around the state and participates in national activities, including meeting the president of the United States. The winner receives a leased car for a year, courtesy of the New Jersey Education Association, and a package of classroom SMART Technologies from that company.
For more information, please see the NJDOE Teacher of the Year web page.