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Kean Hosts Union County Teacher Recognition Program

Kean University, the alma mater of New Jersey’s Teacher of the Year and the leading producer of teachers statewide, hosted the Union County Teacher Recognition Program on Wednesday, May 27. Sponsored by the Union County Superintendent’s Roundtable, the event celebrates Union County’s best and brightest primary and secondary school teachers. 67 of the 144 honorees were alumni of Kean University, which graduated its first cohort of teachers in 1857.  

Michael A. Davino, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, welcomed the attendees and introduced Christopher Hudak, Chairman of the Union County Board of Freeholders.

 "If you ask 100 people how to describe an outstanding teacher in their lives you will get 100 different answers but the theme will be the same. A great teacher is someone who listens," said Hudak. "It is fitting that we hold this program at Kean University, the producer of not only the most teachers in the state but also the best quality."

 “Nothing in society is more important than teaching and no one does more for society than teachers,” added Kean University President, Dr. Dawood Farahi, who served on faculty for the majority of his professional career. 

Kathleen Assini, the 2013-2014 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year and Kean Alumna, delivered an impassioned keynote address.   Ms. Assini's pathway to teaching was an unconventional one; after 20 years as a hair stylist and salon manager she returned to school and completed her bachelor's degree at Kean. 

“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” was Ms. Assini’s missive to the audience who welcomed it with thunderous applause.   

As State Teacher of the Year, Ms. Assini has made combatting the stigma attached to mental health disorders her platform.  Assini called for better treatment and resources for students with eating disorders and substance abuse problems. 

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