Newark Schools District Celebrates the 2021-2022 Teacher of The Year

(This is a press release from Newark Public Schools District.)

Yesterday Superintendent Roger León of Newark Public Schools surprised Newark’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Jessica Cruz Tavares. Members of the school board, administration, students, and family joined in on the surprise at Lafayette Street School as part of an annual tradition commemorating Newark’s best educators. 

“Every year, it is with pride that I announce and introduce the Newark Board of Education’s Teacher of the Year, and this year is no different,” said Superintendent León. “It is an honor to have Mrs. Tavares, who personifies what it means to be committed to ensuring that students receive the academic and emotional tools needed to be successful, as the district’s Teacher of the Year.” 

Mrs. Tavares has been teaching middle school science at Lafayette Street School since 2014. She was nominated and selected based on her interdisciplinary approach to teaching that centers on student growth, which is both challenging and engaging. As a teacher leader, she is highly respected by her peers and students and was elated by the recognition. She consistently gives back to the profession by sharing her expertise and knowledge of teaching and learning through interclass visitations and mentoring new teachers. Mrs. Tavares has compassion and sensitivity that allows her to connect with her students and others on a personal level.

“I really do appreciate the opportunity to teach here. I truly do love what I do each and every day,” stated Taveras. “My students are getting ready for high school so I try to encourage them to keep going and keep learning inside and outside the classroom.”

Lafayette Principal Maria Merlo said “Jessica is not just a teacher in this class, she’s a teacher leader in the school. She has worn so many hats throughout the year to make things possible and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.”

Mrs. Tavares, who was was bestowed with the distinction of district-wide teacher of the year, an honor she accepted with joyful tears while her school community beamed with pride, joins 63 other NBOE teachers, who have been recognized for their outstanding efforts in the classroom. 

Board President, Dawn Hayes, said “To know that we have the absolute best is heartwarming. May your light shine on all the teachers around you so that they can strive to be the district-wide teacher of the year in the future.”

In closing, Superintendent León shared a special message of appreciation and thanks to all of the teachers of the district for their commitment, dedication, and excellence in the classroom.

Staff Writer

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