Princeton University will honor four exceptional New Jersey secondary school teachers at its 2014 Commencement on Tuesday, June 3.
This year’s honorees are Christa Cordes, East Side High School, Newark; Luke De, The Pingry School, Basking Ridge; Daniel Foerg-Spittel, Tenafly Middle School, Tenafly; and Lily Lee, Northern Valley Regional High School, Old Tappan.
The teachers were selected for the award from 80 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.
“Over 100 years ago, John Dewey wrote, ‘education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.’ The four teachers we recognize and honor with this reward remind us of this fact; that education is not about being ‘college or career ready.’ Such a view of education, they would argue, is not only foolish, it is shortsighted and dangerous,” said Christopher Campisano, director of Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation.
“These distinguished educators remind us that the true value of an education is found in the ongoing quest to fulfill one’s destiny and that journey never ends.”
The staff of the Program in Teacher Preparation selected 11 finalists, each of whom was visited at their school by a member of the program staff. Award winners were selected by a committee that was chaired by Dean of the College Valerie Smith. The panel also included Campisano, University faculty members Joshua Katz and Stanley Katz; Steve Cochrane, superintendent of the Princeton Public Schools; and Laura Morana, interim executive county superintendent of schools for Mercer County.
“These teachers serve as a testament to the quality of education found in our schools today and serve as an inspiration to all future and practicing teachers,” Campisano said.
Princeton has honored secondary school teachers since 1959. The University received an anonymous gift from an alumnus to establish the program.