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English Teacher Recognized as Glen Rock Selection for Governor’s 'Teacher of the Year'

Each year, districts are asked to identify and nominate teachers who make a difference.

English Teacher Recognized as Glen Rock Selection for Governor’s 'Teacher of the Year'
By Raquel Lesser, The Glen Echo

Patricia Mahoney has been named Glen Rock’s selection for the Governor’s Teacher of the Year, honoring 32 years of continuous devotion to teaching the thousands of students who have walked through the doors of her classroom.

Each year, the state asks districts to nominate teachers for the recognition. This year, Glen Rock chose Mahoney. 

On April 1st, Glen Rock High School Head English teacher Ms. Mahoney was greeted by Mr. Arlotta with news of the impressive accolade.

Ms. Mahoney has taught at Glen Rock High School for 25 years, 21 years of which she has been the adviser of Mobius, the high school literary magazine. Additionally, for 18 years, she has organized and sponsored ‘coffee houses’, which are forums where students can express both their musical and poetic talents.

In high school, Mahoney was blessed with two influential high school English teachers who aided in her dreams of becoming a teacher. For both undergraduate and graduate school Ms. Mahoney attended Middlebury College in Vermont. There, she was inspired by an influential teacher in graduate school who reminded her of the impact that teachers have on their students. She remains in touch with all three of these teachers to this day.

“I felt deeply honored and also quite humbled,” Ms. Mahoney said, talking about her recognition as the Governor’s Teacher of the Year. Mahoney has a unique connection with her students that was recognized with this commendation.

“She’s a great teacher,” Colleen (’14), a former student of Ms. Mahoney, said. “She helped me write better and showed me ways of writing in different forms.”

Ms. Mahoney has stayed in touch with hundreds of students, going as far back as her first year of teaching, which was in 1982.

“I’ve known Ms. Mahoney since freshman year, when I joined Mobius,” the Mobius Editor-In-Chief, Izzy Liberti, said.  “She’s always maintained a focused goal on making the magazine as productive and as efficient as possible. I have immense respect for her.”

Ms. Mahoney’s teaching style includes the Socratic method of discussion and analyzing literature. This style also includes providing many opportunities for students to write and share their ideas with one another. Her style also includes creating an environment where students feel comfortable to be themselves.

In her time at Glen Rock, she has proudly educated every grade level, spanning the many English courses available to students. Ms. Mahoney has served as a guide for not only students but also for the many teachers of the English Department.

“Ms. Mahoney is the best department leader that the English Department can ask for. She sacrifices her own time, and sometimes her sanity, for the department,” said Journalism teacher Mr. Jason Toncic, who is in his second year at the high school. “She offers me a lot of guidance. She provides me with experience and knowledge to guide me when I have questions.”

“Definitely well deserved,” Mrs. Debra Brolsma said, the Head of Interact and a special education teacher. “An excellent choice.”

Mr. John Arlotta, school principal, said, “Ms. Mahoney is quite deserving of the award. She exemplifies the qualities of a master teacher. Her classes are engaging, ripe with discussion at high levels of thinking, and it is obvious that she cares deeply for her students. As Department Leader, she shows the same care for her teachers, and they hold her in equal regard. Her work with Mobius, the related Coffeehouses, and promoting faculty/parent book clubs are some of the ways in which she shares her talents with others. I consider her a colleague for whom I have the utmost respect.”

Ms. Mahoney also taught seven years at a private girl school in Summit, NJ, before coming to Glen Rock in 1989.

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The Glen Echo is the school newspaper of Glen Rock High School.  Student-written articles cover diverse aspects of high school life, ranging from sports to feature articles. Read more  here.

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