New Jersey Science Teachers Association Applauds Science Teacher Christine Girtain named NJ State Teacher of the Year 2022-23
On October 12 the New Jersey Department of Education announced that Christine Girtain, a science teacher and the Director of Authentic Science Research at Toms River High School North and South, was named the 2022-2023 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. It has been 17 years since a science teacher was recognized at this level–a drought of recognition for a state that prides itself on its technology industry. The New Jersey Science Teachers Association congratulates Girtain on this monumental honor recognizing her passion for working with students and sharing with colleagues to solve global science challenges.
The Governor’s Educator of the Year program is constantly evolving. It starts at the local level with those who are selected by their individual schools. The local district Teachers of the Year are encouraged to apply for recognition as County Teachers of the Year. The timely application process is fairly intense as it establishes criteria that a teacher is not only an asset at their own local school but is also connected within a larger societal footprint. According to her County Teacher of the Year description, Christine has forged an alliance with the Army and Navy “to establish a K-12 STEM pipeline with a goal of ensuring the sustainability of the STEM workforce in the United States.” She has taken students on educational tours in Europe and to do research in Costa Rica. Some of her students even presented their final work to a panel of scientists from the US, Israel, and Switzerland. Additionally, she has exemplified this same spirit of dedication to colleagues by funding local teachers and hosting others from 6 states in search of new potential antibiotics. County Teachers of the Year are encouraged to apply for recognition as a New Jersey State Teacher of the Year (NJSTOY). Criteria at this level "highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success." She is also a New Jersey state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching. Christine clearly exemplifies that important aspect of societal impact in addition to her local excellence.
Congratulations to a homegrown New Jersey science teacher for 28 years of dedicated service affecting the lives of so many students and colleagues. On a daily basis, Girtain models the importance that work in science can have on the world by energizing the importance of the subject beyond expectations. We are so pleased that the Governor and NJ Department of Education have recognized a brilliant ambassador who can best share the message that science education leads to not only employment in the STEM jobs for which our state is known but also the betterment of our planet.