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The Camden Education Fund today announced the winners of its 2023 RISE Teaching Award, a citywide distinction honoring outstanding teachers across Camden’s public schools.
Three teachers will receive a $5,000 prize, a Certificate of Achievement from the City, a congratulatory video, and a surprise classroom visit from the Camden Education Fund team and Mayor Victor Carstarphen notifying them of their selection.
“We are honored to partner with the City and its public schools to honor and reward outstanding educators for their work in the classroom,” said Camden Education Fund Executive Director Giana Campbell. “There is no more important responsibility than educating, caring for, and guiding our youth. Valuing and supporting excellent teachers is critical to learning recovery and continuing academic growth in our schools following the pandemic. The RISE Award winners, and all of our city’s educators, deserve our utmost appreciation, and we are thrilled to recognize these outstanding professionals with the RISE Teacher Award.”
“We must invest in our youth and recognizing excellent teachers is key to that. We have so much talent right here in this city. Let’s continue to give our teachers the tools they need to be successful. Congratulations to the RISE Award winners and to all of our city’s educators. I can’t wait to celebrate with them,” said Mayor Victor Carstarphen.
Selection for the 2023 RISE Award began in November, when the Camden Education Fund sought nominations from school principals across the city. Teachers who were nominated by principals were invited to complete applications, including reflections on their teaching practice and identification of additional recommenders, such as colleagues, students, or families.
An independent committee of veteran educators reviewed all RISE applications and identified the finalists. The committee included: Melissa Axelsson from The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning; Dr. Toni Barton, Relay Graduate School of Education; Dr. Mark Pearcy from Rider University; and Jonathan Garr, Director of School Investments at Camden Education Fund. The committee then observed lessons and reviewed teachers’ lesson reflections to evaluate each finalist.
“This year’s nominees have set the bar even higher, dedicating themselves to transformational and innovative instruction for their students,” said Garr. “They are not only excellent teachers, but role models for their entire school community. We are constantly humbled by the dedication of our teachers, and we’re proud to honor the 2023 winners with this award.”
This is the third year of the RISE Award. Both this year’s and previous winning teachers represent the diversity of education offerings in the city. They include elementary, middle, and high school teachers; district, charter, and renaissance teachers; general education, special education, and bilingual/ESL teachers.
“We are fortunate to have incredible educators in the city of Camden,” said Camden City School District Superintendent, Katrina McCombs. “It is wonderful to have an organization like the Camden Education Fund recognize and celebrate these professionals for the work they do shaping the lives of our students, from our youngest learners all the way up to our graduating seniors. We congratulate all of this year’s winners and thank our partners at the Camden Education Fund for this recognition.”
The 2023 RISE winners include:
- Erica Nelms, elementary school teacher at KIPP Lanning Square Primary
- Iran Mercado, high school English Language Arts teacher at Creative Arts Academy
- Reyna Sosa-Gomez, middle school English Language Arts teacher at Mastery Molina Upper Elementary
“Our teachers work tirelessly to educate and serve children and families across the great city of Camden, said Principal, Medinah Dyer, R.T. Cream Early Childhood Center. One of my dedicated teachers was honored last year by the Camden Education Fund and we’re honored for their continued support and partnership.”
Enjoy the photos!