Board of Education Honors Teacher Awards, Updates on Contract Dispute

The Board of Education honored two teachers for their accolades and gave a brief update on the continuing teachers’ contract dispute at their mid-April meeting.

Toll Gate Grammar School physical education teacher, Suzanne Horsley, and Central High School STEM teacher, Lea White, were applauded for their achievements.

“These two staff members… have really set themselves apart from their colleagues,” said superintendent Dr. Tom Smith. “Both of them really transcend their jobs into something very special.”

Horsley, a 15-year veteran of Hopewell Valley schools, was named the Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the NJ Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, while Toll Gate principal Jane-Ellen Lennon described her as an “innovator.”

“Not only does she implement her knowledge in her classroom, but she actively shares her expertise with her colleagues,” Principal Lennon said. “I’m in awe every time I visit her gym.”

White received the 2019 STEM Teacher of the Year Award by the Professional Engineers Society of Mercer County, with technology supervisor Douglas Brower describing her as a “role model for women in engineering.”

“Lea [White] engages students in compelling, real world challenges that help them become better collaborators and better thinkers,” Brower said. “She simply wows me when I see her in her classes with her students.”

Both Horsley and White received a standing ovation from the Board and those in attendance, and Smith thanked them for their years of service in Hopewell Valley schools.

The Board gave a short update on the ongoing contract dispute, with teachers continuing to attend, looking for a resolution after their contact expired at the end of June last year.

According to Board President Alyce Murray, both the Board and the Hopewell Valley Education Association received a fact-finding report on Friday, and a meeting is planned later this week to discuss the findings. No further updates were given.

The Board’s next meeting will be May 20, with a public hearing and the final adoption of the previously introduced budget on May 6.

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