This truly is a great stop on my journey as an educator. I am humbled and honored to be recognized as teacher of the year. It is not by chance that I have arrived at this place, and I would be remiss to say I did it on my own. Family, friends, and colleagues all played a crucial role in my success as an educator. Growing up I attended Toms Rivers Schools where I discovered my calling as a teacher. I’ll never forget the way my 6th-grade teacher, Mrs. Eagan, impacted me; the love and kindness she showed me was something I wanted to give back to others. I went on to graduate from Stockton University. A few years later, I accepted a temporary position in the Barnegat School District as the Gifted and Talented Teacher. It wasn’t long before I was given the opportunity to take on my first full-time position as a 4th-grade teacher. The following year I moved to 5th-grade where I had the privilege of working with some of the most amazing teachers who helped me learn and grow as an educator. After three years of teaching 5th-grade, I applied for the position of Gifted and Talented teacher, where I now teach today. In my new role, I am able to work on advanced projects with some of the brightest and hardest working students from all different grade levels. Teachers have the unique opportunity to help shape the lives of children every day in a positive way, and I’m so thankful to be recognized for my efforts in doing that. I have indeed enjoyed my teaching career thus far and all that has come along with it: Science experiments, class pets, class trips, and so much more. My goal as a teacher has always been to instill a love for learning in all my students and I will continue to pursue this never-ending goal as long as I am an educator. I look forward to continuing my journey as a teacher and as a positive role model, and I can’t wait to see what other adventures are in store.