Scrittore named county Teacher of the Year

HAMBURG. Tara Scrittore, a kindergarten teacher at Hamburg School, is the first teacher from a school in the Wallkill Region to win the award.

| 11 Jan 2024 | 12:04

Tara Scrittore, a kindergarten teacher at Hamburg School, has been named the 2023-24 Sussex County Teacher of the Year.

She credits her success to support from her colleagues, administration and husband.

“I’m so proud to represent Hamburg School and our beautiful county,” she said. “I am especially proud because I am the first county Teacher of the Year who is from a school in the Wallkill Region.”

Winning the award has opened the door to many connections, she noted, listing the places when she has made presentations with and without others who won Teacher of the Year in their counties.

The events included the New Jersey Education Association’s annual convention in Atlantic City and a Future Educators Day for high school students held at Centenary University.

The Teachers of the Year from the 21 counties try to meet once a month for educational or social activities, Scrittore said.

Joseph Nappi of Monmouth County, who was named New Jersey Teacher of the Year, will visit Hamburg School on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Proud community

Kimberly Sigman, chief school administrator of the Hamburg district, said, “The Hamburg School community is extremely proud of Ms. Scrittore’s accomplishments. This is a significant achievement and a testament to Tara’s dedication and excellence in education.

“As the Sussex County Teacher of the Year, she serves as a role model and inspiration to her colleagues, students and the entire community.”

Sigman said Scrittore deserves the honor and she expects her to use it “as an opportunity to further advocate for the importance of quality education and the positive impact teachers can have on students’ lives.”

“Her expertise and passion for teaching helps to improve the educational experience for all students in Hamburg, and her commitment to the profession is something to be celebrated.”

Inspired by teacher

Scrittore has wanted to be a teacher since she had a teacher.

She especially was inspired by her fifth-grade teacher, Linda Richards, who taught her soon after her family moved to Minisink, N.Y., from the Woodbridge, N.J., area.

She originally thought about teaching high school English, but when she was attending the State University of New York in Albany, she participated in a program to get classroom experience at Albany High School. That convinced her that she did not want to teach secondary students.

In fact, throughout her 16-year teaching career, she has taught only kindergarten. She has been at Hamburg School since 2015; she took eight years off to be a stay-at-home mother to her two children.

She believes that kindergarten is “absolutely magical.” “Five- and 6-year-olds - they want to please their adult. That’s who they are developmentally so it’s a great time to be in their life.”

She enjoys guiding the students and their parents through the school year.

Asked the secret to being a great teacher, Scrittore said, “Always trying to learn new things.”

She continues to be a student as well as a teacher.

Reading specialist

She has been working on her Orton-Gillingham associate level certification for the past two years.

She has nearly finished the 100-hour practicum, which follows 70 hours of course work. Then she intends to apply to join the Orton-Gillingham Academy, an exclusive group of educators who help students with language-based learning disorders.

Her passion for literacy motivated her desire for that certification, which will allow her to give highly specialized instruction to individuals or small groups of students who struggle to read.

Orton-Gillingham is a method of teaching students with disorders, such as dyslexia, how to read. It is a methodology, not a program or resource, so it can be applied to people of any age.

What she has learned already has affected how she teaches reading. ”Almost immediately, it changed how I deliver instruction ... to the whole class.”

Tara Scrittore earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the State University of New York in Albany and is a graduate of the Essex County Provisional Teacher Training Consortium.
She has been teaching for about 16 years, all in the early childhood setting.
She has served as a mentor teacher for new teachers in her district and a cooperating teacher for student teachers.
She is a member of her school’s District Evaluation Advisory Committee and has worked part time as a content scoring leader for the nonprofit Educational Testing Service for the past 16 years.
Scrittore believes that how you learn is as important as what you learn and is proud that her classroom is a nurturing place for students to thrive.