With the holiday season upon us, I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation and admiration for everyone’s hard work and support during the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. We have had many accomplishments to be proud of so far this school year, from staff and faculty recognitions to student-athlete successes.
At the October 2017 New Jersey State Board of Education, High School American Sign Language teacher, Ms. Amy T. Andersen was named the 2018 State Teacher of the Year. Under Ms. Andersen’s leadership, she has made excellence and equity in the High School and School District a major focus. Ms. Andersen’s strive for excellence has resulted in a robust and exceptional ASL educational program, which includes a broad rigorous curricula and a performing arts program, been touted as highly successful and impactful on the community. She is also noted for fostering a family atmosphere, promoting unity and a positive learning environment. Her reputation for excellence has enabled us to attract students from throughout South Jersey, with different backgrounds and experiences, who further enrich our School District.
At the October New Jersey School Boards Association Convention, the Intermediate School’s OC Life21 Club won the STEAM Tank Challenge with their app ReCraft. Their app is a spin-off of the Minecraft game that encourages recycling and makes it fun. In addition, the NJEA invited the students to the NJEA convention to present their app and be formally recognized by the NJEA and NJSBA.
Our fall season saw many successful sport seasons. November was a busy month of the fields and the track! The High School Girls Cross Country team won the South Jersey Group 3 Championship. The Girls Soccer won the South Jersey Group 3 Championship. We also had eight of our Red Raider student-athletes sign their National Letters of Intent!
Congratulations to student athletes Maggie Wallace and Bill Kroeger. On November 19th, Maggie and Bill attended the Complete Athlete Showcase at Rider University. This Showcase awards honors and a scholarship to those 12th grade Complete Athletes, who show excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and character. Maggie won the Complete Athlete award. They also showcase Rising Stars, who are a 9th, 10th, or 11th grade student athlete is on the right path to becoming a Complete Athlete. Bill won the Rising Star award. Congratulations also to their coaches. It was a great event and great for them to be recognized as the epitome of excellence.
High School Cross Country Coach, Matt Purdue, was recognized by NJSIAA as the 2017 NJSIAA Sports Award recipient for Cross Country on December 4th. Mr. Purdue has been the head coach of the Boys Cross Country team since 2008 and has had a stellar career. His overall Cape Atlantic League record is 91-1, his teams have won the Cape May County title nine times, the CAL Conference Champions five times and have been South Jersey Group III Champions three times.
At the December 2017 New Jersey State Board of Education, I was named the 2018 State Superintendent of the Year. This honor belongs to the entire Ocean City School District, beginning with the Board of Education. During my tenure in the district, the Board of Education has encouraged my innovation and supported new initiatives to ensure every student has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential. My administrative team and Ocean City staff – my colleagues – are among the top professionals in education. We have worked side-by-side and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in facing both the tough challenges and in celebrating our many successes.
I also share this honor with the families and communities we serve. I am indebted to them for entrusting me, as the leader of Ocean City Schools, with educating and nurturing their children – precious, exuberant and sometimes fragile. I never lose sight of the fact that the education, health, and well-being of every child is, and should always be, an educator's first priority.
So, I thank you all for your shared enthusiasm and diligence, and on behalf of the Board of Education and District Office Staff, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. We have had a very successful and eventful year so far; because we have an excellent team here in Ocean City -- students, families, faculty, staff, and administration.