Hoboken teacher honored at Princeton

Princeton honors exceptional secondary school teachers

Princeton University honored four exceptional New Jersey secondary school teachers at its 2011 Commencement on Tuesday, May 31.

This year’s honorees are Kathleen Chesmel, New Egypt High School, New Egypt; Robert Downes, Mountain Lakes High School, Mountain Lakes; Rachel Grygiel, Hoboken High School, Hoboken; and Donata Nicholas, East Orange Campus High School, East Orange.

The teachers were selected for the award from 64 nominations from public and private schools around the state. Each teacher will receive $5,000, as well as $3,000 for his or her school library.

Rachel Grygiel of Hoboken NJ honored at Princeton University 2011 - Hoboken teacher honored at Princeton

“What distinguishes this year’s winners is their intellectual leadership among their colleagues and in their communities,” said Christopher Campisano, director of Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation. “These four outstanding teachers are among the most highly respected members of their respective faculties and administrations — serving as role models, coaches and mentors. Their absence would be a tremendous loss to the life of each institution. They are a constant and indelible source of inspiration for their students, and they hold fast to the belief that all students can learn to high levels of understanding. They truly represent what is best in the teaching profession, and we have much to learn from their wisdom.”

The staff of the Program in Teacher Preparation selected 11 finalists, each of whom was visited at work by an observer. Finalists were selected by a committee that was chaired by Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel and included Campisano, two Princeton professors and two external education professionals.

Princeton has honored secondary school teachers since 1959. The University received an anonymous gift from an alumnus to establish the program.

Rachel Grygiel

Teaching in an urban school district, Rachel Grygiel faces challenges that go above and beyond getting students to perform well on tests — and the Hoboken High School social studies teacher has exceeded expectations.

“In essence, Ms. Grygiel does more with less,” Daniel Loughran, Hoboken’s supervisor of curriculum and instruction, said. “The respect and admiration she has garnered from students, along with her colleagues and the community at large, comes as a direct result of Ms. Grygiel’s insistence that students work hard and that they live up to their potential. A student in Ms. Grygiel’s class is always challenged to be his or her best.”

Congrats, Ms. Grygiel!

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