BCS Lumberton Award Winners!

Opening Minds; Changing Lives

Congratulations to our winners!

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our students, families and staff. You represent the best of us all and we couldn't be happier for you all. Well done!


-Principal Kamau

Mrs. Heather Smith, Culinary Arts - Our Teacher of the Year Winner!

I am a Culinary Arts instructor who has proudly worked in the Burlington County Special Services School District since January of 2001. I graduated from the Academy of Culinary Arts in 1999 and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Restaurant Management from Johnson Wales in 2001. Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked in every aspect of the restaurant business; from working in fast food, to serving tables in various restaurants; to working my way up through the chain in the kitchen. Most notably, I worked as the head chef at the Burlington Country Club, where I had the honor of meeting Dr. DeSopo, the founder of the Burlington County Special Services School. He saw the potential in me, and afforded me the chance to come on board and share my skills and knowledge. I worked hard that first year to earn my teaching certificate from Rowan, and after 16 years, I am proud to have the distinction of “teacher of the year” bestowed upon me!!

When I began my career with this school, I started in Lumberton in the main kitchen as a food service instructor. The following year a classroom was built to teach Culinary Arts, and from there, my efforts focused on making it the best experience for my students; teaching them the intricacies of the art. It wasn’t enough for me, however. After much research, time, hard work, and even a little begging, my dream of bringing a restaurant to the school came to fruition; and in 2004, Smitty’s Café was born!! I developed a curriculum that enabled all students who enrolled in the program an opportunity to experience life in a full service restaurant. They take part in making daily lunch entrees, both hot and cold, gourmet salads, sandwiches, desserts and other baked items. We host several special events during the year, such as a Thanksgiving feast and a Black History Luncheon, giving the students a taste of what catering entails. Embodied in the curriculum that I developed, we manage fundraisers to help with student activities and with the senior class, including two holiday pie sales and a Christmas cookie tray sale. I thrive on learning, and truly enjoy leading my students, assisting them, and training them to be the best that they can. It is my goal to ensure that each and every student leave my class with the ability to succeed; to give them the skills that they need to enter the work force with confidence and knowledge. Food is my passion, especially baking desserts, breads and pastry, but my students make it all worthwhile!!

I was born and raised in Burlington County, and recently moved back to my home town with my husband, Jeff, and 14 year old daughter, Tala. We all love dogs and have many of them. We were fortunate enough to be able to buy a house with some land, and this year I had my first very successful garden, which yielded many fresh fruits and vegetables for me to cook with! I am a true lover of the beach and all things sun related. I own a small business making handmade soaps and related crafts. I love to travel; look forward to girls’ nights; and enjoy the company of my great group of friends.

I am honored to have been chosen as this year’s “teacher of the year” and even more blessed that I truly enjoy what I do!!

Ms. Roseanne Rowe, Nurse - Our Education Services Professional of the Year Winner!

I started working at BCSSSD on January 2, 1996 assigned to the South Campus after working as a nurse for 20 years at Memorial Hospital of Burlington County, now Virtua. My degrees are as follows: I attended UMass, received my Associate of Science from BCC in 1972. In 1976 I graduated with a BSN with highest honors from Rutgers Camden. I received my School Nurse Certification from Trenton State (College of NJ) in December 1995. I have numerous continuing education hours focusing on adult and adolescent health issues and emergency care.

I faced many challenges as I began my new job and quickly grew to appreciate the challenges my special needs students faced daily. In September 2002 I was transferred to our Lumberton Campus’ Behavior Disabilities Program. The challenges are different and can be overwhelming at times. I’ve learned much through the years about adolescent health, and have grown to love the students under my care.

Not only do I work full time, I also volunteer as an EMT, CPR instructor, Assistant Chief EMS, Indian Mills Volunteer Fire Company secretary, and Cantor at Holy Eucharist Church in Tabernacle. Volunteering in my community affords me the opportunity to grow in my profession and learn new techniques that I can use with my students.

I am the Burlington County School Nurse Associations representative to Prevention Plus of Burlington County. Its mission is to promote the health, wellness and safety of the individuals and families of our community by providing professional services for the prevention of the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and related issues through education, collaboration and advocacy.

I am a 2005 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse Fellow. I used the grant money I received to begin the Reality Works Baby Think It Over at Lumberton Campus. The infant simulators re inforce what the students have learned in class: pregnancy, child care, parenting skills, child abuse including shaken baby syndrome, the effect of alcohol and illicit drugs on fetal health.

I was recently received a grant for CPR manikins from Ross and the American Heart Association to teach all of my students CPR. Approximately 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home. Immediate bystander CPR provides the best chance of survival. My students will have this skill.

I believe schools should take an active role in the health of their employees. This enables staff to provide better care for their students. To promote staff wellness I started the “Lumberton Biggest Losers” program. I am available for staff health questions and vital sign monitoring and refer staff to their own physicians for medical concerns.

I feel very honored to have been nominated as the Lumberton Campus Education Services Professional Year for 2015. Thank you!

Roseanne M. Rowe RN, EMT, CSN-NJ

Mark Ruff, our Teacher Assistant of the Year!

Mark Ruff has been a Teachers Assistant at Burlington County Special Services School District since September 2012. During this time he has been assigned to the Lumberton Campus. Mark has a strong desire to help others. He attempts to demonstrate this by being humble, maintaining a professional demeanor and wanting to be a positive role model to all students enrolled in BCSSSD. He is attentive to student needs. Mark is recognized by his peers for having an abundance of patience towards others and particularly with students.


Mark is known for helping various Teachers with developing and revising their PowerPoint presentations.

He assists the Teacher he works with in planning, designing and implementing classroom curriculum. As well as help maintain appropriate classroom discipline.


Mark always is willing to help all Staff members when asked.


Mark Ruff received his Bachelor Of Science Degree from Trenton State College (The College of New Jersey) in Criminal Justice during 1978. He graduated in 2003 from Life University, earning a Doctorate degree in Chiropractic.


Mark looks forward and intends to continue to be an asset at BCSSSD by helping students with their academic endeavors, so they will be able to strive to achieve their life goals.