Ocean Township Teacher Awarded Teacher of the Month



(L to R) Assistant Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Denise Ricciardi, Assistant Principal - Candice Vasta, Kathy Zimmer – Director of Business Development at First Financial, Supervisor of Special Education - Amanda Staehle, and Sara Cucci of Thunder 106.  Mr. Mike Cervellino (winning teacher) is shown seated in front.

Mr. Mike Cervellino, an eighth grade teacher at Ocean Township Intermediate School in Ocean Township, NJ was recently awarded the honor of December’s Teacher of the Month by the First Financial Foundation and Thunder 106 FM.

Cervellino was nominated for this honor by co-worker Dara Mazza, and was surprised with an award presentation this month.

In her nomination letter, Ms. Mazza noted, “Mr. Cervellino truly has a passion about him with everything he does. He teaches special education in our intermediate school, helps students navigate their way through the trials and tribulations of the middle school years and coaches the boys’ basketball team. When he’s not at school he also coaches an AAU basketball team through mid-June. His teaching abilities and passion for learning are something you don’t see every day.”

She also stated that “Mr. Cervellino is a positive role model for young boys growing up in an ever violent society. He constantly surrounds himself with good-hearted people and maintains contact with some students who have moved on to high school. He truly cares about what he does and how he impacts others. He also helps take care of his Mom who is now in her 80s! His capacity to teach and care knows no bounds and this is why I ask you to choose Mike Cervellino as your teacher of the month. Thank you!”

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Lacey Township Elementary Teacher Awarded Teacher of the Month

NovemberTOM-resized-600L to R: Vanessa Clark, Lacey School District Assistant Superintendant; Michelle Amos, District Supervisor; Third Grade Teacher of the Month, Ms. Wasilewski; and Jackie Runuska, Cedar Creek Elementary Principal.

Ms. Lauren Wasilewski, a third grade teacher at Cedar Creek Elementary School in Lacey Township, NJ was recently surprised with an award presentation for Teacher of the Month by the First Financial Foundation andThunder 106. Wasilewski was nominated for this honor by parent Kim Davis.

According to her nomination letter, Ms. Davis noted, “Ms. Wasilewski is such a positive and encouraging teacher. She works hard to really get to know each child in her class and how they can best learn and thrive. My daughter adores her. Ms. Wasilewski’s encouragement and kind way about her have made such a difference in my daughter’s life. You can tell that this isn’t just a job to Ms. Wasilewski. She is there to make a difference and she does!”


Manalapan High School Teacher Awarded Teacher of the Month

First Financial and Thunder 106 have awarded another phenomenal teacher! Kelly Hedin, a physical education and health teacher at Manalapan High School, was awarded as First Financial’s October’s Teacher of the Month.Kelly was nominated for this honor by family member Christian Kearns. “Mrs. Hedin does just about anything she is asked of at her high school including directing the school play and coaching cheerleading in addition to her duties as the (now former) head varsity field hockey coach,” Christian said. “Mrs. Hedin is loved by all her students. She is willing to listen to any problems a student may be having and she goes above and beyond her call of duty of what is expected.”


L to R: Katie North of Thunder 106, First Financial’s Marketing Manager Jessica Revoir, winning teacher Kelly Hedin, Manalapan High School Principal Jeff Simon.

Congratulations, Mrs. Hedin!

Know an exceptional teacher who deserves to be recognized as a future Teacher of the Month?

Nominate them now!

Keansburg Teacher Awarded Teacher of the Month

First Financial and Thunder 106 FM are pleased to announce that we have another local winning teacher!  Roslyn Simek, an 8th grade math teacher and advisor at R. Bolger Middle School in Keansburg received September’s Teacher of the Month Award.

Roslyn, who has been a teacher in the district for over 40 years, was nominated by Administrative Assistant, Lori Ryan.

“As the eighth grade advisor and a math teacher, Mrs. Simek makes sure everything goes smoothly for the 8th grade students, from knowing all about math in today’s world to getting the two big class trips set up, and even getting t-shirts printed,” Lori said.

Lori nominated Mrs. Simek because of this, and because of her true dedication to the students and staff of this school. She also noted that Mrs. Simek arrives at school early every day, and always with a smile.


L to R: Joseph R. Bolger Middle School Principal Doug Covert, Administrative Assistant and nominator Lori Ryan, winning teacher Roslyn Simek, Katie North of Thunder 106, First Financial’s Marketing Manager Jessica Revoir, Financial’s Business Development Officer Megan Shull and Assistant Principal Jim Altobello.

Congratulations to Mrs. Simek!

Know a teacher who deserves to be our next Teacher of the Month?

Nominate them now!

Local Teachers Win Awards in Summer 2011

June’s Teacher of the Month


L to R: Principal Mark Alfone with winning teacher Heather Adams.

Congratulation to Heather Adams, a sixth and seventh grade teacher at Neptune Middle School in Neptune, NJ for receiving the June Teacher of the Month Award!  Adams was nominated for this honor by her older sister Amanda Hessels, and was surprised with an award presentation at the end of the school year.

“Heather’s passion is teaching and she instills a love of learning, value, integrity and service in all that are fortunate enough to know her,” said Amanda. “Heather holds her students to a high standard and will push them to achieve that standard of excellence. She never accepts “can’t” nor “won’t” as answers, and always keeps learning interesting by using sources outside of the textbook.” She continued, “Most striking, I have seen Heather encourage students to make connections with what they are learning to their lives, the world, or something they may have seen or read. Her students know that her classroom is a safe place to learn and just be themselves, helping them develop not only knowledge, but confidence to excel and contribute to the greater community.”

May’s Teacher of the Month


L to R: Katie North of Thunder 106, nominating student Haley Kreis, winning teacher Renee Gurgacz, Lacey Township High School Principal Will Zylinski, First Financial’s BusinessDevelopment Director Kathy Zimmer and First Financial’s Marketing Manager Jessica Revoir

First Financial and Thunder 106 are proud to announce Renee Gurgacz as May’s Teacher of the Month! Ms. Gurgacz is an Emergency Services Club advisor and teacher at Lacey Township High School in Lanoka Harbor.  Gurgacz was nominated for this honor by student Haley Kreis.

“Ms. G has been such a hero to me,” said Haley. “She introduced me to volunteering on our local ambulance squad and this week I graduated EMT class with 26 other people, including another fellow Lacey High School student.” Kreis continued, “Ms. G helps us cope with the serious calls, teaches us the basics of patient care, and makes the club fun. As a result of her program, over thirty current and former students have joined local squads in the past few years and many have made careers out of EMS and firefighting.”

April’s Teacher of the Month


L to R front row: First Financial’s Business Development Director Kathy Zimmer, nominating student Delaney, winning teacher Kristina Guttadora, First Financial’s Marketing Manager Jessica Revoir and Katie North of Thunder 106.

First Financial Federal Credit Union and Thunder 106 are proud to honor another Teacher of the Month! April’s Teacher of the Month Award went to Kristina Guttadora of Freehold Township High School.  Ms. Guttadora is also a Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at FTHS.

Student Delaney who nominated Ms. Guttadora said,

“While other FFA chapters have about four or five advisors to teach animal science, floral design, landscaping, career development events teams, and make sure that everything for the state gets done, Ms. Guttadora does it all herself.  Not only has she taught us these skills, but also how to be leaders, work in a team, work hard (but still have fun), and appreciate others.”  Delaney added, “She has really inspired me to become an agriculture educator and an FFA advisor one day.”

Congratulations, Ms. Guttadora!

Many teachers work all year round, such as coaches, summer school teachers, and some special education professionals.  We are still taking Teacher of the Month nominations all summer!  You can nominate a teacher for July and August Teacher of the Month at Thunder106.com.

Local Teacher Wins an Award in March 2011

In April, we published a blog article on two local teachers who won Teacher of the Month Awards. This month we are pleased to announce that we have another local winner! Physical Education teacher Mr. Gara of Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School in Seaside Heights took home the March Award from the First Financial Foundation and Thunder 106 FM.“I think Mr. Gara deserves Teacher of the Month more than any other teacher. Although his primary role is to be our physical education teacher, he wears many hats,” said nominating co-worker, Colleen.

“He spends his lunch and preps hanging out with the children in the cafeteria to provide them with a positive and stable male role model. He puts the kids’ best interests first.  He takes the role of teacher, mentor and older brother.  He is willing to do anything for anyone.  He has even been spotted scooping lunches on days when the cafeteria personnel are absent.”

Congratulations to Mr. Gara!


Know a teacher who deserves to be our next Teacher of the Month? Nominate them now.