It goes without saying that teachers play possibly the most important role in our society, grooming our young ones to become able and involved citizens. It’s also true that the efforts of those teachers all too often go unnoticed or underappreciated. But once a year, the Hoboken school district takes time to recognize several of its finest, and last week announced the five Teachers of the Year.
One teacher from each Hoboken public school – Hoboken Junior Senior High School, Connors Elementary, Calabro Elementary, Brandt Elementary, and Wallace Elementary – was chosen to receive the honor. This year’s recipients are Amanda Enrico of Brandt, Mark Mautone of Wallace, Tammi Oberstein of Connors, Marianina Salvetta of Calabro and Paul Huggins from the high school.
Amanda Enrico, a pre-kindergarten teacher, originally planned on a different career during her time at Kean University. Studying at the time to become a recreational therapist, Enrico spent time working with children who suffered from cerebral palsy, and in doing so, found a love for working with children and decided to become a teacher.
Enrico switched her course of study, and was soon hired by Catapult Learning, a company which formerly ran Hoboken’s early childhood programs. Three years later, when the district took over the program, it asked Enrico to stay on as a teacher.
One teacher from each Hoboken public school was named Teacher of the Year last week.
Wallace Elementary School
Mark Mautone is a head teacher in the Wallace School’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program for educating children with autism, and has logged nearly two decades of service in the sphere of special education. A graduate of Kean University’s special education program, Mautone also holds a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Caldwell College.
Working in the ABA’s preschool program, Mautone helps each student through individualized instruction which is constantly being updated and molded to fit each student’s needs through ongoing in-depth assessments and data analysis on his students’ behavior and skills. Through this method, Mautone has found a way for each student to receive exactly the type of education which fits their needs and plays to their strengths.
Mautone has been recognized nationally for his efforts to include the use of technology, especially the iPad, into his curriculums. He has been crafting the use of the iPad for children with autism and other disabilities since the product was first released in 2010. He helps students use commercial applications and has also modified several himself in ways that will help his students.
“Mark believes 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 possible,” said the district. “Mark has seen children with special needs not be given the educational opportunities each one of them deserves. It is those experiences that maintain his determination to ensure that all children, despite ability are educated appropriately.”
Tammi Oberstein teaches first grade at Connors School, though she began her career in the South Bronx before coming to Hoboken in 2001. Oberstein originally studied art and theater at Stony Brook University in New York and after working in the field of children’s dance therapy decided to become a teacher.
Since receiving her Master’s degree in education, Oberstein has approached teaching as a way to create well-rounded, lifelong learners in a warm and safe environment. Oberstein has also taken steps to make sure her classroom is a fun place to be, infusing her dance and theater background into her curriculum to drive students’ creativity. She is currently studying to be a certified yoga instructor.
Marianina Salvetta, a fourth grade teacher at Calabro, knew from a very young age that she wished to become a teacher. She spent much of her childhood volunteering in local preschools, and later received her bachelor’s degree at Rider University, where she studied Education and Psychology.
Since joining the Hoboken School District ten years ago, she has taught kindergarten at Calabro and Connors, and third grade at Calabro. Salvetta has also worked in many of the district’s afterschool and summer programs throughout her ten years in Hoboken. She is involved with NJ Ask Tutoring, Reading First, and Wallace School’s afterschool and summer reading programs.
“Ms. Salvetta welcomes every new day as an opportunity to tackle new challenges and obstacles with an enduring spirit that will not be deterred,” said the district. “She goes above and beyond to help her students reach their educational goals by determining and applying individual techniques for every child.”
Hoboken Junior Senior High School
Paul Huggins, an English teacher at Hoboken Junior Senior High School, has worked for the Hoboken School District for ten years. He teaches British Literature, Modern Fiction and AP Language and Composition. Driven and rejuvenated by his love of teaching on a daily basis, Huggins said that his favorite part of the day is the time spent with his students.
Huggins is involved in several of the high school’s extracurricular activities: he directed students in a production of “Macbeth” at the New Jersey City University Shakespearean Festival and coaches a team of students that competed in Stevens Institute of Technology Ethics Bowl. He was an advisor to the class of 2013, and coaches the school’s Model Congress, which will participate in this year’s Harvard University Model Congress competition.
Huggins also runs the high school’s Academic Center for Excellence, which provides students with tutoring and homework assistance.
“His goal as a teacher is to empower his students with education, so they will better understand and shape the world around them,” said the district.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at email@example.com