Press Releases Index

November 16, 2004
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
908-737-NEWS (6397)

Kean University's NJCSTE Announces Teacher of the Year Awards

UNION, N.J. ––– The New Jersey Center for Science and Technology Education (NJCSTE) at Kean announced the winners of its second annual awards program for science, mathematics and technology teachers who demonstrate excellence in their fields at a luncheon held on November 4, during the New Jersey Education Association's (NJEA) annual convention in Atlantic City, N.J.

The 2004 NJCSTE Teacher of the Year Award is Shelly Anne Witham, earth and space science and archeology teacher at High Tech High School in North Bergen, N.J. She was granted a $2,000 prize, and her school received an additional $3,000 to use towards curriculum development in math, science and technology. Witham is in her fourth year of teaching at the High Tech High School, where she began her career after completing her Master of Science degree in geology education at Purdue University. Students in Witham’s classes benefit from activities such as building physical volcano models, using Internet-, display- and video-conferencing software, as well as accessing real-time digital scientific data from around the world. Faced with the challenge of giving her archeology students authentic learning experiences in a space without a schoolyard or other grassy area, Witham constructed a dig for her scholars using an empty bookcase, plastic garbage bags, sediment, and simulated artifacts. Teams of students worked on lessons drawn from New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards that were tied to inquiry-based lessons connecting the science of archeology to cultural and social history. Witham has published scholarly articles in Science Teacher and the Journal of Science Teaching, and has received multiple grants to incorporate computing, technology and standards-based instruction into teaching.

The first-runner up prize of $1,000 went to Janice Fay, a 2nd-grade teacher at Antheil Elementary School in Ewing Township, N.J. The second-runner up prize of $500 went to Amy Biasucci, an 11th- and 12th-grade environmental science teacher at Cranford (N.J.) High School.

Award applicants were either self-nominated or recommended by their supervisors and were required to present formal applications. Each submission was reviewed by a selection committee composed of representatives from Kean University’s math, science and technology departments, as well as from the College of Education. The committee ranked each of the candidates and selected the top three teachers of the year, while the Kean University Foundation provided the generous monetary awards.

Each November, NJCSTE will continue to honor the most creative and inspirational science, math and technology teachers at a ceremony held during the NJEA Convention. Award applications will be available at in the spring of each year. For more information about the NJCSTE or the Teacher of the Year Award program, please contact Dr. Charles Murphy at (908) 737-3420, or send an e-mail to