Crim Teacher and Educational Services Professional of the Years are honored at ceremony

Crim Teacher and Educational Services Professional of the Years are honored at ceremony

The pride of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District was honored at the Staff Recognition Reception on Tuesday, May 2.

The highly popular ceremony, which drew over 150 administrators, board of education members, staff and teachers as well as families from the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, was held at the Somerville Elks Lodge.

The event was held to honor the 2022-2023 Governor’s Teachers of the Year and the Governor’s Educational Services Professionals for all 11 schools in the school district.

A total of 22 staffers—two from each school–were honored for their achievements and passion as members of the school district.

The ceremony was funded by the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association (BREA) and was held for the first time at the Elks Lodge after the previous ceremonies were performed at Bridgewater-Raritan High School cafeteria.

Superintendent Bob Beers opened the festivities with his usual upbeat remarks.

“It is our great pleasure to honor the dedication to your craft that you do every day,” Superintendent Beers announced. “Thank you for the dedication and impact that you have on our children.”

He continued.

“Teaching is a lifestyle and you do need the support of your family. We thank your families for that support.”

Laura Kress, the President of the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association, followed Superintendent Beers to greet the award winners and the audience.

“This ceremony is our (BREA) most pleasurable event,” Ms. Kress revealed. “Thank you to Suzanne (Klos) for putting this on.”

Ms. Klos’ title is Executive Secretary to the Superintendent but she is arguably one of the school district’s most valuable staff members.

She coordinated the ceremony and the new venue for the 2023 reception was well received by all.

Ms. Kress, a Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School Teacher, praised her peers.

“I look at our primary school teachers and what a miracle that they do to teach our kids to read. It is amazing and we teach more than the curriculum. We teach how to forgive and how to have compassion. Life’s lessons help us all grow,” she explained. “We learn from our students and you all play a key role.”

Ms. Kress added:

“You all are the best of the best.”

Each of the 11 school principals introduced their Teacher of the Year and their Educational Services Professionals of the Year.

Members of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District Board of Education assisted with the presentation of gifts to the recipients.

 Principal Matt Lembo of the Milltown Primary School could not attend the affair but he was substituted at the podium by Dr. Dan Fonder, the Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, who introduced the two recipients from that school.

Here are the profiles of the Crim Primary School Teacher of the Year, Abigail Goldstein, and the Educational Services Professional of the Year, Gretchen English.

Abigail Goldstein

Crim Primary School
Grade 2 Teacher

Abby Goldstein has been teaching at Crim Primary School for the past eight years.  Her bright presence is felt in many ways at our school.  Abby’s greatest gift is how she finds beauty in the most challenging students. The students in her classroom know that Abby cares deeply for them and will always encourage them to be the best version of themselves.  She has a way of turning a group of "spirited souls" into a respectful, lovely class of friends. She has the perfect balance of high expectations for her students and also allows for fun.  

Abby serves as an exemplary model of a dedicated and inspirational teacher. She is highly skilled in all areas of teaching, and is an expert at small group, differentiated instruction.  She recognizes students have different styles of learning, discussing, contributing and participating in a classroom environment.  Likewise, Abby knows how to reach each student on various levels, whether it be to provide additional support to struggling learners or provide opportunities for enrichment to challenge those in need of more.  As a passionate advocate for all of her students, Abby seeks out the knowledge and support of colleagues until she can ensure that she is meeting the needs of every child in her classroom.  Her constant desire to make her classroom a welcome place for all learners to achieve is truly remarkable. Her commitment to authentic student learning can be seen throughout her classroom and within the student work showcased. 

Abby is involved at both the school and district level.  Not only does she make a difference in her second grade classroom, but she serves on the STEAM Expo Committee, the School Improvement Panel, the Student Recognition Committee, the Scheduling Committee, the Crim Professional Leadership Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  As a co-chair of the Sunshine Committee, Abby takes the lead on instilling a sense of belonging and pride amongst her colleagues.  Abby has helped to improve the morale among staff at Crim with innovative ideas, creative projects and fun activities.  Abby regularly offers mini-courses after school through the PTO.  She seeks to offer varying courses throughout the year as an opportunity to get to know many students, aside from just the students in her individual class. She is able to foster relationships with prior and current students as well as develop relationships with students who may be in her class in the future. In addition to taking on these responsibilities, Abby hosted a student teacher in the Fall, showing her desire to reflect on her own practice and grow professionally.  In this role, Abby combined her talents of mentoring, planning, organizing, and providing meaningful feedback to empower this future teacher, just as she does with her students. 

Abby exemplifies what it means to be a true educator.  She values social and emotional learning, promotes respect and empathy, and teaches students valuable life lessons.  Abby is the reason that students in her class are excited to go to school each and every day, and the reason that students leave school with a smile on their faces.  Colleagues, parents and students speak highly of Abby, and I know that Abby is proud to serve as a teacher along with other members of her family.  She is an asset to Crim School, and our learning community is proud to have the opportunity to endorse Abby Goldstein as our 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Goldstein shared, “When I interviewed for my first teaching job, I immediately felt like I was home when I walked through the doors of Crim Primary School.  While my exact position at Crim has changed so many times over the past eight years, the one thing that has remained the same year after year has been working with incredible colleagues, families, and students. I feel so grateful to be part of the Crim Community. My students are my favorite part of each day and the reason why my classroom is my happy place. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have loving parents and wonderful teachers who fostered a passion for lifelong learning and helped me to become the best version of myself. I try my best to share that same passion with my students and to help them become their best selves. A quote by Rita Pierson motivates me each day. She states, ‘Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.’”


Gretchen English

Crim Primary School
School Nurse

Gretchen English is an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educational services professional at Crim School.  Throughout her time as a school nurse in Bridgewater-Raritan, Gretchen has dedicated herself to her role in ways that make her well loved and respected by staff, students, parents and administrators.  

As the school nurse, Gretchen attends to the medical needs of all students and staff in a warm, comforting, and knowledgeable manner.   She provides assistance to students and staff experiencing medical emergencies and is quick to provide assistance to anyone in need.  Gretchen is a visible presence in our building throughout each day; she often moves paperwork to the side to visit a classroom, assist with a behavioral crisis, or tend to a child's needs.  Gretchen consistently goes above and beyond in the care of all members of our Crim School community - staff, students and families alike.  

More than just placing a Band-Aid on a knee, Gretchen truly gets to know every student in our building. She works hard daily to make every child feel safe, cared for, and an important part of the school community.  During the times when she is tending to an ailment, no matter how big or small, Gretchen makes a connection with the student, letting him/her know that she cares.  She engages in conversations related to family, interests, and school.  These connections reinforce to our students that Gretchen is a kind and trusted adult who will support them in any way necessary.  Gretchen cares for Crim staff members and families as much as students - her dedication to the profession and the Crim School community is a testimony to the type of professional she is. 

Gretchen’s day does not end with charting and medical care of Crim School students.  As a member of our Crim CARES Committee, Gretchen creates philanthropic opportunities for students, parents and staff to work together as a school community.  Gretchen organizes Thanksgiving and Souper Bowl Food Drives to provide families within the community with much-needed meals.  Likewise, she serves as a co-chair for the Health and Wellness committee, assisting with planning Red Ribbon Week and Wellness Week activities for students and staff.  Gretchen is an active member of the Section 504 Committee and assists in the creation of accommodation plans for students with medical or physical impairments. 

Gretchen’s knowledge, support, willingness to assist, and hard work is well respected and admired by students, staff, and administrators. Having Gretchen as a colleague and leader within our building is one of the most wonderful elements about working at Crim School.  The Crim School community is proud to have the opportunity to endorse Gretchen English as our 2022-2023 Educational Services Professional of the Year.

Mrs. English shared, “Over 20 years ago I began my nursing career caring for pediatric transplant patients at the University of Chicago. It was exciting and demanding work that required focus and patience.  Along the way, I learned that no matter how sick a child is - they still want to feel like a kid.   Later, I moved home to New Jersey and Goryeb Children's Hospital and also began my own family in Bridgewater.   I was an active Crim Mom for 9 years as my three kids progressed through the school.  A few years back, when the opportunity arose to work in a community I knew well, it was a perfect fit.   Becoming a school nurse was not something I planned or expected, but I am glad I made the move.  I still find each day rewarding and exciting.  The challenges change constantly and my work goes far beyond Band-Aids and ice packs.  The role of a school nurse is multifaceted and can move from routine paperwork and screenings to full blown medical emergencies in a heartbeat.   My priority is to provide the best possible medical care for the 400+ students and staff in the building.   My goal is to make a connection with each student that walks through my office door, so they feel both safe and cared for whether it's an illness, injury or they just need to talk.  I adore the opportunity to see healthy children grow and flourish from Kindergarten to 4th Grade.  My own children may have moved on, but I'm still happily at Crim all these years later.”  

Here are our award winners from each of the 11 schools in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District. Their teaching/staff position is listed after their name.



Meghan De La Rosa, English as a Second Language



Kathryn Kaye, Special Education Teacher



Abigail Goldstein, Grade 2 Teacher



Tammy Miller, Grade 4 Teacher



Robert Cirino, Health and Physical Education Teacher



Danielle Caulfied, Grade 1 Teacher


Matthew Swinsburg, Grade 3 Teacher



Deborah Ronning, Grade 5 Teacher



Carmelina Geiger, Grade 5 Teacher



Sarah Martin, English/Language Arts Teacher



James Olivola, Teacher of Mathematics



Maryellen Filep, Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant



Katherine Rayburn, Media Specialist



Gretchen English, School Nurse



Sharon Fargo, Speech Language Specialist



Linda O’Brien, Intervention Specialist



Theresa Torraca-Sheats, Instructional Specialist



Shawn Danus, Intervention Specialist



Alice Piscadlo, School Counselor



Kinjal Barad, Instructional Assistant



Kelley Beahan, Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant



Erin Lowman, School Psychologist

Below is a link that contains the Staff Recognition Reception program, which includes the bios on all 22 award winners, 

2022-2023 Staff Recognition Award Booklet