2019 Teacher of the Year:
Jennifer Skomial is a Career and Technical Education teacher of the Academy for Education and Learning at Morris County School of Technology in New Jersey. Skomial knows first-hand the importance of Career and Technical Education as she was once a student in the same program. She is dedicated to preparing students for future careers as teachers, child psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, and the like, by creating an authentic learning environment which exposes students to these fields. Students in Skomial’s class have the experience of developing lessons for 3-5-year-olds and teaching those lessons to a preschool class in the learning lab. As such, Skomial sees her role as that of a coach and mentor as she provides feedback and support to her students. On any given day, Skomial might be hosting a speech pathologist as a speaker, visiting a school for students with severe learning challenges, or conducting a mock Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting, all geared toward providing real-world experiences for her students. She creates lessons that engage her students in child development, classroom management, and other education-related topics. Skomial demonstrates a commitment to community involvement so her students stay connected to the world outside of their classroom.
Additionally, Skomial collaborates with her colleagues to develop professional development opportunities. She has served in the formal role of Lead Teacher by mentoring new teachers, establishing a professional learning community, providing weekly professional development opportunities known as “Pop-Up PD”, and serving on several district and school-wide committees. Skomial holds a Bachelors in English Secondary Education from Montclair State University and a Masters in Special Education from New Jersey City University.