West Orange High School teacher Erica DePalo was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders as this year's "Teacher of the Year."
DePalo, a Montclair resident, teaches Honors English for grades 9 and 10. She has worked at the high school since 2003.
"I am merely a representative of all the hardworking dedicated
teachers, especially those with whom I work at West Orange High School," DePalo said at a September board of freeholders meeting in West Orange, where she accepted her award.
"I am extremely proud and fortunate to be part of a district that has afforded me the opportunity to grow as an individual and a professional, to work alongside teachers who support me and inspire me every day, and to be surrounded by students who are really the reason I love coming to work, and love my job."
The Essex County Teacher of the Year award is part of the New Jersey Department of Education's annual "New Jersey Teacher of the Year" program, meant to recognize and honor the contributions of outstanding Pre-K through Grade 12 teachers.
"Erica, I am so proud of your accomplishments," Executive County Superintendent Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod said during the ceremony. "You have touched the lives of young people in West Orange as few educators have. You represent all the teachers of Essex County, and they couldn’t have a better representative."
DePalo was chosen by representatives of the education community.
DePalo earned her B.A. in English from Villanova University, and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University, as well as an Administrative Certificate from the College of Education and Human Services at Montclair State University. She is currently working on her Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership at The College of New Jersey.
The Freeholder Board’s commendation was co-sponsored by Freeholder Leonard M. Luciano of West Caldwell, a Library Media Specialist with the Newark Public Schools, and Freeholder Patricia Sebold of Livingston, who taught English at West Orange High School for 30 years until her retirement in 2001.