Mrs. Joanne Cavera, chair of the Saint Joseph Regional High School science department, has been selected as the 2016-2017 “Teacher of the Year” for the Archdiocese of Newark.
Mrs. Cavera has served the Saint Joseph Regional High School community for the past eleven years, during which time she has taught Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Environmental Science, Algebra, World Religions and Engineering and Design.
Prior to her tenure at St. Joe’s, Mrs. Cavera had served for twelve years as a business teacher at Fairleigh Dickinson University (where she received the second of her two Master’s degrees), and was a teacher and vice-principal for an additional eight years in middle school.
During the 2015-16 school year, Mrs. Cavera took a lead role in developing a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) curriculum for the Archdiocese, and in 2016-17, she created and taught a junior-senior elective in Engineering and Design. Among other activities, her class participated in a video conference sponsored by National Biomedical Engineering, made a formal presentation to the school administration on parking lot traffic flow, and benefitted from visits by several alumni who are themselves engineers.
“I was very gratified by the response of our students to this new elective,” said Mrs. Cavera, “especially when so many of my seniors will be heading to college engineering programs next year. I tried to make the class as ‘hands on’ as possible, since students must learn how to function in groups, and see things from other perspectives.”
In addition, Mrs. Cavera has been the moderator of the SJR Ecology Club for the past decade. During that time, she has applied for and received $10,000 in grants from the Bergen County Utility Authority Environmental Awareness program. In 2012, the Ecology Club received a New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award for Environmental Awareness as the result of a project created for the New Jersey Meadowlands Authority. She is also a past nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science.
“Mrs. Cavera provides a variety of meaningful activities for the benefit of the different learners in her classroom. She coordinates several field trips annually to enhance her classroom instruction, and she has a wonderful rapport with students and parents alike,” said SJR Principal Michael Bruno.
“In addition to her abilities as an instructional leader, both for her department and for the faculty as a whole, Mrs. Cavera also supports the spiritual growth of the school through her participation in liturgical celebrations and campus ministry programs, including her role as a committee member for our 2017 Day of Awareness.”
As the Teacher of the Year for the Archdiocese of Newark, Mrs. Cavera will next be considered for the overall New Jersey state award, presented by the New Jersey Council for American Private Education (NJ CAPE). The Teacher of the Year Awards Program will be presented at the New Jersey Department of Education in Trenton in October, 2017.