The Manchester Township Board of Education recently honored the district's Teachers of the Year at a board meeting. Patch will run the profiles of each teacher through the rest of the week.
Carolyn Defino is the Manchester Township Middle School Teacher of the Year and is also the District and Ocean County Teacher of the Year.
Mrs. Defino has been an educator for 26 years, 19 of them at Manchester Middle School. Previously a Math teacher, this year she took on the challenge of establishing the first autism class at MTMS. Mrs. Defino also participates in a variety of charitable organizations including Kevin’s Kids’ Holiday Drive, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and ALS Valentine Plunge.
“Mrs. Defino has built a career around helping students with special needs
and built a life around helping the community,” Principal Nancy Driber
She said that Mrs. Defino has expanded her students’
experiences by bringing the community into her classroom and bringing
her students into the community, arranging for Greta the therapy dog to
come to her class on a monthly basis and helping to establish the Circle of Friends program where students from the building befriend students
in the Autism class.
“Her teaching style reflects her own life," Driber said. "She demands a lot from her students, while promoting a caring environment where all students thrive regardless of their challenge."
Mrs. Defino said, “In the past I have not accepted the nomination for Teacher of the Year, basically because I am so in awe of the professionals that surround me every day.” She thanked teachers Claire Rutz and Irene O’Reilly for encouraging her to accept the nomination this year. “The time I’ve spent completing applications and essays has given me time to reflect and affirm that growing professionally, working with colleagues and educating all students continues to be my calling; and Manchester Township is an outstanding district to do just that.”See video of Mrs. Defino's speech.