Teacher of the Year
Mrs. Tanya Stevenson, teacher of German, the 2016 -2017 Morris Hills High School Outstanding Teacher, is referred to by her World Language colleagues as “a leader in the World Language Department.” Another colleague states: “Mrs. Tanya Stevenson inspires students to learn and succeed by making it her priority to bring the German culture and language to life in her classroom.” Mrs. Stevenson truly has a sincere devotion to education and her students. She approaches each day and everything she does with a fresh attitude - teaching, leading, and guiding all students, not just her own. She works tirelessly to teach her subject in a “real-world” context through the use of the most up-to-date cultural resources.
Mrs. Stevenson displays an incredible creative energy and a refreshing outlook as she faces the many challenges found in a classroom of varied skills and abilities. Since her arrival to the district, she has been teaching a combined German 3 and German 4 class. She takes the time to create innovative activities for the classroom that integrate the German language into the lives of her students. Additionally, she plans special events for her students and those taking other languages, promoting diversity and culture. She is sensitive to the needs of each student. She is flexible, reliable and, as a result of her efforts, is highly respected by her students, her fellow teachers, and her administrators. A supportive and dedicated colleague, Mrs. Stevenson is always willing to help another colleague in need.
Mrs. Stevenson arrives at school each day with a positive outlook. She carries her energy into her classroom where her enthusiasm and love of teaching takes her students to new heights. Her students say, “She always goes the extra mile. Always reassuring, kind, and supportive, Mrs. Stevenson makes you feel like your question is the most important question of the moment.” Parents say the following of Mrs. Stevenson: “She is the most caring, thoughtful, patient, and understanding teacher.” Mrs. Stevenson makes an outstanding effort to communicate with parents. In so doing, she comments on the good, as well as areas for improvement and spends an enormous amount of time ensuring that parents are kept informed. She is a constant presence at Morris Hills and is an all-around exceptional member of the Morris Hills High School faculty.
Mrs. Stevenson’s contributions to Morris Hills High School extend far beyond the classroom. She has become a tremendous asset to the World Language Department and overall culture of the high school. She attends several extra-curricular events outside of the school day to support her students. Mrs. Stevenson is a current student activities advisor, serving as the German Club Advisor and German Honor Society Advisor. Through her leadership, Mrs. Stevenson’s students are involved in activities including Oktoberfest celebrations, German folk dancing, gingerbread house contests, singing in German at holiday events, and participating in the annual ERASE Dinner. Mrs. Stevenson is also the main architect behind the German Foreign Exchange Program for the Morris Hills Regional District.
Mrs. Stevenson is a mentor and friend to all department members. She works closely with her supervisor of the World Language Department, tackling curricular issues and moving the department in a positive direction. She has been one of the main architects with regard to the development of the World Language quarterly assessments. Furthermore, Mrs. Stevenson has been a pioneer with regard to utilizing Google Classroom and Google Applications for Education in the World Language classroom. She readily shares her knowledge and expertise with colleagues. Mrs. Stevenson has also taken an active role utilizing the language lab software, DiLL, in her German classes. Mrs. Stevenson is a staff development presenter with regard to course of study training.
When not at Morris Hills High School, Mrs. Stevenson is a loving mother to her three children and a devoted wife to her husband, Glen. She can be found at all of her children’s activities.
We are privileged to honor Mrs. Stevenson as this year’s Outstanding Teacher and to work with her on a daily basis. Our sincere congratulations and thanks to Mrs. Stevenson, on behalf of the entire faculty and administration, for all of her contributions to the culture and community of Morris Hills High School.
Educational Specialist of the Year
Mrs. Heather McDonald, Guidance Counselor, the 2016-2017 Morris Hills High School Outstanding Educational Services Professional, is referred to by her colleagues as “a caring and effective counselor. As a former member of the district teaching staff, she brings classroom experience to her everyday practice, and it grounds everything that she does on a daily basis. That perspective is always appreciated and needed, and it shows that she can be student-focused while also being aware of the big picture of the difficulties that a classroom teacher faces juggling all of their responsibilities.” Another colleague states: “Being the professional that she is, Mrs. McDonald has been willing to learn, adapt, and stay current to meet the needs of the entire diverse population of our school.” Mrs. McDonald truly has a sincere commitment to education and to her students. She approaches each day and everything she does with passion – leading and guiding all of her counselees.
Mrs. McDonald displays an incredible amount of energy and a refreshing viewpoint as she faces the many challenges found in the Guidance Office. She is trustworthy, reliable, ethical, visible, approachable and, as a result of her efforts, is highly respected by her students, her colleagues, and her administrators. A supportive and dedicated colleague, Mrs. McDonald is always willing to help another colleague in need.
Mrs. McDonald serves as the AVID 11 counselor. As our AVID 11 students transition to AP and Honors level coursework, Mrs. McDonald has worked tirelessly with our AVID teachers to prepare college readiness lessons that have assisted our AVID students in setting realistic post-secondary goals. Mrs. McDonald is a true professional who has been supportive, compassionate, and devoted to all of her AVID students and the AVID Program. Attending AVID field trips, college visits, and site team meetings, Mrs. McDonald’s high expectations for her students and her commitment to the AVID Program is evident. Furthermore, Mrs. McDonald has served as a Guidance Counselor for our Academy students and Magnet students.
Mrs. McDonald inspires all of her students to become more confident, capable, and productive learners. She meticulously assists students with their college searches and the college application process. She is in constant communication with parents and teachers, informing them of student concerns. She is a constant presence at Morris Hills High School and is an all-around exceptional member of the Morris Hills High School faculty. Mrs. McDonald leads by example and is a role model for our students.
Throughout her tenure at Morris Hills High School, Mrs. McDonald has coordinated numerous Guidance Department programs including the following: Financial Aid Night, Junior College Planning Night, 8th Grade Orientation, and Senior – Alumni Program. Furthermore, Mrs. McDonald has taken an active role with regard to the school’s harassment, intimidation, and bullying curriculum, assisting the school SAC with the showing of “Sticks and Stones” to all 9th grade students.
Mrs. McDonald’s contributions to Morris Hills High School extend far beyond the Guidance Office. She serves as the Head Girls’ Swimming Coach. She has become a tremendous asset to the overall culture of the high school, attending school-wide events supporting students and colleagues.
When not at Morris Hills High School, Mrs. McDonald is a loving mother to her two children and a devoted wife to her husband, Kevin. She is always on the sideline cheering her children on at their various sporting events.
We are privileged to honor Mrs. McDonald as this year’s Outstanding Educational Specialist and work with her on a daily basis. Our sincere congratulations and thanks to Mrs. McDonald on behalf of the entire faculty and administration for all of her contributions to the culture and community of Morris Hills High School.