Bradley Gardens Teacher of the Year and Education Services Professional honored at ceremony

Bradley Gardens Teacher of the Year and Education Services Professional honored at ceremony

A celebration of the commitments and dedication of staff members in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District was presented on Tuesday, May 4.

The Somerville Elks Lodge served as the venue for the school district’s annual—and highly acclaimed—Staff Recognition Reception.

The event was held to honor the 2023-2024 Bridgewater-Raritan Teacher of the Year and the Educational Services Professionals for all 11 schools in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.

A total of 22 staff members–two from each school–were honored before an estimated crowd of 175, which included administrators, board of education members, staff, teachers, and families of the honorees.

The reception was sponsored by the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association (BREA), while the ceremony was coordinated by the energetic and valuable Suzanne Klos, the Executive Secretary to the Superintendent.

She was assisted in preparing for this elite ceremony by Terry Brown and Kaitlyn McGhee, who are Administrative Assistants in the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

Laura Kress, the BREA President, opened the ceremony with her remarks that cited the faithfulness and devotion that are exhibited by the 22 honorees as well as the entire school district.

Superintendent Bob Beers followed Ms. Kress and touched on how “Bridgewater-Raritan is unique in that we are able to hold an event such as this.”

He applauded the honorees and the school district for “a high level of commitment to excel’ and described the teaching profession as a calling rather than a job.

Each school principal was given the opportunity to speak and introduce their two distinguished staff members–Teacher of the Year and Educational Services Professional of the Year.

Each honoree received a commemorative gift that was handed out by the Board of Education Vice President, Jennifer Loughran, and a Board of Education member, Stacey Friedlander.

Here are the honorees from Bradley Gardens in a summary written by Principal Barbara Binford.

Susan Winters
Bradley Gardens Primary School
Grade 2 Teacher

With absolute joy, Bradley Gardens Primary School announces Mrs. Susan Winters as
the Teacher of the Year. She graduated from Kutztown University with a dual
certification in Elementary and Special Education and a Masters in 2024 for Instruction
and Classroom Management from The College of New Jersey. Susan has taught across
four school districts, within all grade levels K-4, and in many varying roles, currently
teaching second grade.
During her interview, nearly a decade ago, twenty minutes dissolved into one hour as
Susan enraptured the committee with her passion for teaching. An obvious hire, she
has brought engaging whole brain teaching lessons with boundless enthusiasm to our
students. Colleagues describe her as funny, caring, funny, professional, positive, and 
Did I mention funny? Whether a current or former student, she greets them as if they are
the most special person in the world at that moment. Professionally, she is a natural-born educator, consistently collaborating with peers, administration, and parents.
Holding high standards, Susan works through lessons until all the students “get it.”
Susan writes, “I look to make someone smile each day and thrive from the opportunity
to collaborate with peers. In my mind, teaching is not only about the curriculum in front
of me, but also about allowing students to feel success across a wide range of
experiences, and teaching them how to utilize their strengths to become productive
members within their classroom, and the outside world.” We are so proud to name
Susan Winters as our Teacher of the Year for Bradley Gardens.

Puja Arora
Bradley Gardens Primary School
School Counselor

It is my sincere privilege to announce Ms. Puja Arora as the Bradley Gardens Primary
School’s Educational Services Professional award winner this year. She earned her BA
in Elementary Education from Penn State and began teaching third grade at Crim.
Shortly into her career, she realized her greater calling and pursued a master’s degree in
counseling from NYU, becoming a district guidance counselor serving Crim,
Adamsville and Bradley Gardens over the span of 28 years.
Puja began at Bradley Gardens School, full of ambition, ideas and energy in 2018.
Colleagues say that she is encouraging, cheerful, calm, and oh-so-kind. She seems to

walk on sunshine and clouds. She is a serial helper-can’t say no and has no real work-
day, answering calls into the night, visiting homes when necessary, and logging on to

virtual meetings on days off. Her door is always open, like her mind. She has gifted our
students with unique opportunities for leadership and modeled compassion and
tolerance. An expert mediator, she mends friendships and hearts alike. Puja is students
first, always.
Puja writes, “I have happily found my home as a Bradley Bear where I am truly grateful
to work beside amazing colleagues and an outstanding principal. I am proud to say that
I wake up happy every single day to come to school where I work with the very best
staff who inspire me each and every day. I am humbled and honored to receive this
Award.”
Congratulations Puja, Bradley is a better place because of you.

Listed below are the 22 staff members who were honored.


Teacher of the Year Award - 2023-2024
 
Alexandra Pelligrino, Adamsville, Special Education Teacher
Susan Winters, Bradley Gardens, Grade 2 Teacher
Kimberly Kaminsky, Crim, Special Education Teacher
Paige Hering-Boehme, Hamilton, Grade 1 Teacher
Angela Randazzo, John F. Kennedy, Grade 3 Teacher
Bryan Smith, Milltown, Physical Education Teacher
Megan Rutkowski, Van Holten, Grade 1 Teacher
Jaclynn Hurley, Eisenhower, Grade 5 Teacher
Taryn Prince, Hillside, Grade 6 Special Education Teacher
Ashlen Udell, Middle School, Teacher of Music
Hsiao-yu Lin (Sherry) Griggs, High School, Teacher of Music
  
Educational Services Professional Award - 2023-2024

Deborah Calabrese, Adamsville, Speech Language Specialist
Puja Arora, Bradley Gardens, School Counselor
Monica Hammond, Crim, Elementary Teaching Specialist
Kathleen Hughes, Hamilton, School Nurse
Holly Gibson, John F. Kennedy, Intervention Specialist
Stephanie Campisi, Milltown, School Counselor
Sarojini Panwar, Van Holten, Instructional Assistant
Tara Rutkowski, Eisenhower, Instructional Assistant
Maria Giardella, Hillside, Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant
Rosalia Finazzo, Middle School, Instructional Assistant
Lauren Amisial, High School, Student Assistance Counselor
 
 Linked below is the program that features the background of each of the 22 honorees.

 

BRRSD 2024 Staff Recognition Reception Program