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2020 - 2021 Outstanding Educator of the Year / 2020 - 2021 Ed Specialist of the Year

award

Mrs. Theresa Caruso, teacher of Mathematics, the 2020 -2021 Morris Hills High School Outstanding Teacher, is referred to by her mathematics colleagues as “a friend to all” and someone “who has a huge heart.” Another colleague states: “Mrs. Theresa Caruso inspires students to learn and succeed by making it her priority for her students to understand the complexity of mathematical topics.” Mrs. Caruso 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 of her students. She works tirelessly to teach mathematics in a “real-world” context.

 

Mrs. Caruso is loved by her students. One student of Mrs. Caruso states: “She has fostered a positive learning environment in which all are welcomed to learn. She ensures that every student has a chance to succeed and grow a greater love for the field of mathematics. In her classroom, she utilizes a healthy combination of direct teaching and practice time.” Another student states: “Mrs. Caruso introduces projects that are meant to stimulate our learning and sometimes makes us think in different ways, introducing the skills needed to succeed in college and in life.” Yet another student says: “Mrs. Caruso is not only a teacher but a listener; she is always readily available to see how her students solve problems and willing to listen to their perspectives, creating a true environment where new discoveries can be made.” Mrs. Caruso has certainly impacted the lives of her students.

 

At Morris Hills High School, Mrs. Caruso displays an incredible creative energy and a refreshing outlook as she faces the many challenges found in a mathematics classroom of varied skills and abilities.  Mrs. Caruso brings a high level of professional commitment to her work each day. She is knowledgeable and well-prepared in her classroom presentations. Her commitment to her students and their overall growth and development guides Mrs. Caruso’s daily planning and teaching. Her spirit encourages students to grapple with mathematical ideas and concepts. She takes the time to create innovative lessons activities for her students. Mrs. Caruso arrives at school each day with a positive outlook. Her enthusiasm and love of teaching takes her students to new heights.  She always goes the extra mile. Always reassuring, kind, and supportive, Mrs. Caruso makes students feel like their question is the most important question of the moment. She is sensitive to the needs of each student.

 

A supportive and dedicated colleague, Mrs. Caruso is always willing to help another colleague in need. She is highly respected by her fellow math teachers, her colleagues, and her administrators. Furthermore, Mrs. Caruso has been a contributor to the total school program at Morris Hills High School, serving as a field hockey coach and softball coach. She attends several extra-curricular events outside of the school day to support her students. Furthermore, a leader in the Mathematics Department, Mrs. Caruso has been a course of study writer for numerous math classes offered in the district.

 

Mrs. Caruso is a proud Scarlet Knight herself, graduating from Morris Hills High School and coming back “home” to teach mathematics. As a truly dedicated, enthusiastic, and cooperative member of the Morris Hills High School faculty, Mrs. Caruso has developed a positive and mutually respectful rapport with students, parents, faculty, and administration. When not at Morris Hills High School, Mrs. Caruso is a loving mother to her three children and a devoted wife to her husband, Nick. She can be found at all of her children’s activities.

 

We are privileged to honor Mrs. Caruso as this year’s Outstanding Teacher and to work with her on a daily basis.  Our sincere congratulations and thanks to Mrs. Caruso, on behalf of the entire faculty and administration, for all of her contributions to the culture and community of Morris Hills High School.

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Ms. Anne Albicocco, School Nurse, is the 2020 - 2021 Morris Hills High School Outstanding Educational Services Professional of the Year. Ms. Albicocco has been the school nurse at Morris Hills High School for the past twenty-two years. Overseeing the Health Office this academic year, during a nationwide pandemic, has certainly brought unprecedented challenges. As one colleague states: “Ms. Albicocco has been at the heart of student, family, and faculty safety during these unprecedented times.  Her responsibilities to our students, our colleagues, and our community are overwhelming. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has seamlessly adapted to her evolving roles and responsibilities.” Another colleague says, “Ms. Albicocco responds to calls for help and coordinates with the local and state Health Departments while balancing her daily responsibilities, consistently placing herself at risk for exposure.  She can be counted on during an emergency, and is always responsive when called upon.”

 

How the history books will remember the COVID-19 pandemic will be determined by the actions of healthcare workers, medical researchers, and every American who must continue to do his or her part. And while we cannot answer the questions of when this pandemic is going to end and when we will return to some sense of normalcy, we can answer the question how much more can we take. The answer is this - as much as COVID-19 throws our way. Why? Because we don't have a choice. We are fighting for ourselves, for the future of our children, and for the soul of our nation. And in the end, we will win this war because we have healthcare workers like Ms. Albicocco. 

 

The nursing profession has long been charged with the noble, awe-inspiring, messy, and exhausting work of caring for the sick and suffering. Nurses have the enormous job of preserving human dignity amid uncertainty.  Nurses meet and care for people when they are at their most fragile – bringing hope to what, in some cases, may be the worst day of their lives. Nurses walk alongside individuals during their moments of vulnerability. This requires a special type of selflessness and strength. Most days, the nursing profession feels like a calling – it is one of the most essential, impactful, rewarding types of work. Ms. Albicocco is one of those individuals who brings care and support to our students, our parents, and our staff members.

 

There is a reason why healthcare delivery is often referred to in terms of war metaphors. Nurses are “in the trenches” and “on the front lines of care.” They “go into battle” and if they are lucky, they “emerge unscathed” – but more often than not, nurses carry emotional and physical “battle scars”. As the school nurse of Morris Hills High School, Ms. Albicocco runs towards the line of danger connected to COVID-19. This was not a battle she signed up for, but it is one for which she is taking up arms and fighting regardless. During this unprecedented period of time marked with angst and anxiety – what a few have referred to as our generation’s “World War,” – Ms. Albicocco is overseeing the Health Office at Morris Hills High School and keeping all stakeholders safe.

 

When not at Morris Hills High School, Ms. Albicocco is a loving mother to her three children and a loving grandmother to her five grandchildren. In her free time, she loves to play mahjong. We are privileged to honor Ms. Albicocco as this year’s Outstanding Educational Specialist and work with her on a daily basis.  Our sincere congratulations and thanks to Ms. Albicocco on behalf of the entire faculty and administration for all of her contributions to the culture and community of Morris Hills High School.