From Dayly Record
HOPATCONG — Danielle Kovach, a teacher at Tulsa Trail Elementary School, received the National Education Association’s top award for teaching excellence and $25,000 at the organization’s gala in Washington this past weekend.
“Danielle Kovach is an outstanding educator and exceptional person,” said Superintendent of Schools Charles Maranzano Jr. “She brings an enormous amount of enthusiasm to the classroom every day.”
Kovach, a 36-year-old Succasunna resident and 1993 Roxbury High School graduate, has previously been named Hopatcong’s Teacher of the Year, Sussex County Teacher of the Year and New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. She began her teaching career in Hopatcong in 1997 after graduating from Kutztown University with a degree in elementary education.
“It came as a big surprise to me,” Kovach said. “The other five finalists, who I met, were all phenomenal educators, so to be recognized among them is a true honor for me, and I’m very proud to be representing all the work our school teachers do across the country.”
To qualify for the award, Kovach had to have won the state award and then was invited along with 36 other teachers from across the country to complete a lengthy application that included essays and letters of recommendation. She was then asked to participate in an interview with a panel of judges who required each teacher to teach a lesson to them as part of the process.
Five winners were selected from that process and then Kovach was selected as the overall winner at the Friday night gala held by the NEA at the National Building Museum in Washington with about 800 people in attendance. The NEA is the national teachers union and the the parent organization of the New Jersey Education Association.
“Danielle Kovach is deserving of this prestigious national teaching award as she is representative of all the qualities of excellent teaching desired in America’s educators,” Maranzano said. “Hopatcong Borough is extremely proud of her accomplishment.”
In the past, Kovach has won more than $35,000 in grants for her school to boost technology, earning Tulsa Trail the recognition as being a SMART Showcase School, one of two in New Jersey.