Governor Teachers of the Year

Bellmawr Schools Teacher Award Recipients 2021-2022

Outstanding Achievement

Please join the staff and students as we celebrate and recognize the recipients of the 2021-2022 Governor Teacher of the Year Award. This honor recognizes educators for their outstanding classroom performance, collaborative initiatives, educational outreach, leadership, and significant impact in the school and community. As a Superintendent, it is with great pride and honor that I recognize these compassionate, accomplished and devoted teachers that represent Bellmawr School District. These teachers reflect the exemplary quality of educational leadership as well as supporting the social/emotional needs of every student. A formal recognition ceremony will be held at our Board of Education meeting in the spring.


Danielle Sochor, Superintendent of Schools

Annette Castiglione Early Childhood Center

Kristina Farrell

I started working for the Bellmawr Public School district in 2003 as a substitute teacher and was quickly hired as a paraprofessional for Kindergarten at the Bellmawr Park School. The next year I was a paraprofessional at Bell Oaks, and finally was hired to teach third grade for the 2005-2006 school year at Ethel M. Burke School.

I spent 10 years teaching third grade, and after my first cancer fight was offered the position to move to preschool with the expansion grant. I was a little bit hesitant yet very excited to start the next chapter of my teaching career. These last seven years have felt like they have flown by.

I have truly found my calling when I came to pre-k. I get to spend my days with my best little friends and truly value the impact that I have on the children I work with. The first year that I was in preschool was a little crazy. The building wasn't ready, and teachers had to share classrooms. It was a little unsettling for everyone. I remember our former superintendent stating, "Just get them loving to come to school!" I said, "I can do that!" and I took that advice and ran with it.

The best part of my job is that every day is the same, yet every day is different. It is so hard to pick what my favorite part of the day is. I love sitting with the children, talking, and listening as they share special parts about their life with me. Preschoolers say the funniest things. My one regret is that I never started a book with all the funny things they say! I love being part of the" wonderful world of preschool!" Whether it being silly and dancing or yelling out of the classroom window, "it's field trip day," I believe I have the best job with very excited learners!

Thank you so much to the Bellmawr learning community. I know I said it before, but I absolutely love my job!

Thank you, Mrs. Farrell

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Bellmawr Park School

Kaitlin Dannibale

"This is my 6th year teaching in the Bellmawr Learning Community! When I first started teaching in Bellmawr, I taught Kindergarten at Bellmawr Park. After three years in Kindergarten, I moved up to 1st Grade! This is my 3rd year teaching 1st Grade.

I love so many things about teaching that it is hard to pick just a few! My all-time favorite memory is an easy one, though. When I was asked to move to 1st Grade, I was given the opportunity to “loop” with my Kindergarten class, which meant we would all be together for a second year. Looping with my class was the greatest experience of my life. It was so rewarding to watch the relationships that formed amongst our class and the amount of growth my students made that second year. I wish I could have looped with them all the way up to 8th grade! They will always have a special place in my heart.

The best part of my job is the relationships I form with my students and their families, inside and outside of the classroom. One of my favorite things to do during the year is plan “First Grade Fun Days” outside of school. It is the best to spend time as a class, doing fun things that build our friendships and relationships even more. I am always amazed at the turn out and it makes me so grateful to have incredible families supporting our class every year. I am so lucky to be a part of my students’ lives long after they leave my classroom.

If I had to pick a favorite part of our day, I think it would have to be our read aloud time. I pride myself on having an inclusive, welcoming, and accepting space for all my students. One way we make this a reality is by reading stories that showcase all different characters. I think it is important for every student to see themselves represented in their classroom and, when they see who they are reflected in a book we read, their eyes light up immediately! This also gives my students a chance to learn about those who are different than them and allows us to have important conversations. I always say, if my students leave me learning one thing, I hope it’s that they know everyone is different and that’s a good thing!"

Thank you, Ms. Dannibale

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Ethel M. Burke School

Cindy MacAdams

I began my teaching career in Bellmawr in 2003. After teaching Kindergarten for 13 years, I transitioned to Second Grade in 2016. Throughout these 18 years I have had the privilege of teaching hundreds of wonderful students.

My favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning when the students arrive. They are always full of such energy and motivation. I truly believe their energy inspires me to do the best work I can.

I have many special memories of the years I have spent at Ethel Burke, including the numerous celebrations I have shared with the students. I especially like the preparation and participation in our yearly Holiday Sing Off, where students get to show off their performing abilities.

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to become a teacher. I consider myself lucky to have a role in shaping so many children’s futures. I have always said that my job as a teacher is to create a love of learning. I want children to feel comfortable and confident in school. Without a doubt, the absolute best part of my job is when students tell me that they enjoy being in class and they are excited to learn.

Thank you, Mrs. MacAdams

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Bell Oaks School

Nick Rizzo

I currently teach 5th through 8th grade students at Bell Oaks. I teach Computer Literacy, Touch Keyboarding, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). I began my time in Bellmawr in 2000 as 1 to 1 student support assistant at Bellmawr Park. The next year I entered the Alternate Route Teacher program and taught BSI, ESL, and Academically Talented. After several years at Bellmawr Park and Burke, wearing many hats, I began teaching Computers at Bell Oaks, and have been here since 2003.

What I most enjoy here in Bellmawr is having my former teachers become my colleagues, and then become my friends. It has been a wonderful journey and time I value and cherish. I look forward to having my students become my colleagues because Bellmawr is just a close knit community-a wonderful place to live and work.

My favorite part of the day is the moment the morning silence is broken when the students come into the building to start their day with us. The organized chaos is a reminder that the school only really comes alive when the students are present and that the students make this place awesome!

Thank you, Mr. Rizzo

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