Teaching Award

The New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance was founded to encourage the teaching of New Jersey studies and to help teachers to more efficiently and thoroughly present the study of the state to their students. In the spring of 1999 the Alliance initiated awards to recognize innovation and creativity in teaching New Jersey studies on the elementary, middle, secondary, and college level. The Teaching Award Committee members are Marc Mappen, Michelle Rotunda, Peter Porter, and Raymond Frey (Chair).

Criteria for the Teaching Award are outlined here. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

Past winners of the NJSAA Teaching Awards are:


High School: Robert Schulte, Neptune High School. His classes focus on real life applications, civic involvement, primary sources, and incorporating technology such as virtual reality and 1:1 computing. Mr. Schulte’s award recognizes the innovative nature of his teaching unit about federalism and the government response to the disaster of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The lesson is intended for students at the high school level, but can easily be modified for the middle school as well. Also, teachers can substitute any natural disaster that might face New Jersey to replace the zombie scenario if they are so inclined.


College: Dr. Andrew Urban, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Rutgers University. Professor Urban has produced an outstanding work of digital history entitled "Invisible Restraints: Life and Labor at Seabrook Farms." This online exhibition explores Seabrook Farms' history, utilizing over 90 original documents, images, and videos, an interactive digital timeline, individual essays by students, and a bibliography of archival records relating to the site. The digital platform is available to all K-16 students and the New Jersey community at large. The story of Seabrook Farms is an important part of New Jersey's history. Dr. Urban's digital site is an excellent example of the power and potential of digital history as a teaching tool.


High School: Mary Ellen Fitzhenry, Bayonne High School, in recognition of her professionalism, dedication to her students and craft, and for instilling in her students academic skills far beyond their years and helping them to delve deeply into the history of New Jersey.

College: Michele Rotunda, Union County College, in recognition of her general excellence as a teacher and in particular for her innovative online New Jersey history class.


High School: Joan Ruddiman, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, for her innovative lesson plan, "Witches in Mount Holly," which uses primary and secondary sources to teach middle to high school students historical investigation and critical thinking. A copy of the lesson plan is available as an attachment at the bottom of this page.


College: Don Wefing, Seton Hall Law School

High School: Roseanne Lichatin, West Morris Regional High School


College: Professor Robert McGreevey, Department of History, The College of New Jersey, for his work teaching an undergraduate research seminar on the History of Trenton, in which he taught historical research methods by encouraging his students to become deeply engaged in primary source materials at the New Jersey State Archives and the Trenton Free Public Library. This award honors his commitment to local history learned in the context of state and national history.


High School: Kathleen Renegar of JFK High School in Paterson, for her work encouraging students to create History Day projects on New Jersey history topics.


High School: Keeley Legour, Social Studies teacher at Indian Hills High School. Ms. Legour was nominated by her supervisor, Hank Bitten, for her creative work in having students develop documentaries about their home towns of Oakland, Franklin Lakes, and Wyckoff. The students divided into teams, conducted oral interviews, took photographs, and used other primary sources to create a “virtual” or electronic museum. In the process Ms. Legour has increased their interest in history and appreciation of their own communities.


College: Dr. Raymond Frey, Centenary College


College: Dr. Charles Stansfield, Rowan University


Elementary school: Cortney Stevenson, Montville School District


Elementary school: Sharon Carroll, Lavallette Elementary School

Middle school: Warren C. Martin, Jr.

High school: Jay Gavitt, South Orange-Maplewood School District


Elementary school: Nicolle Marrazzo, Birches Elementary School, Turnersville


Elementary school: Diane Lewis

Middle school: Dorothy Kohrherr, South Brunswick Township

High school: Edward Engelbart

College: Dr. Claribel Young, Georgian Court College


Dr. Richard P. McCormick, Rutgers University


Elementary school: Charles Giachetti

College: Dr. Peter O. Wacker, Rutgers University


Elementary school: Dawn Levin

High school: Dr. William Fernekes, Hunterdon Central Regional High School

College: Dr. Carmela Ascolese Karnoutsos, New Jersey City University