We are proud to announce that Mrs. Mistretta and Ms. Chelotti were chosen as winners out of more than 200 nominees in The Record's inaugural Outstanding Educators contest. The two incredible teachers, who are also IHA alumnae, were nominated by their students as being among the best in their respective disciplines of teaching. All eight winners were recognized in a special section of The Record newspaper on Sunday, June 12, 2016 and honored at a breakfast at Ramapo College of New Jersey on Monday, June 13, 2016.
Mrs. Sharon Tassely Mistretta'75, nominated by student Rebecca Coronel'16, was chosen as the winner of the Computer, Technology or Library Resources category. She teaches computer and technology classes at IHA, and also serves as moderator of the Robotics and Applied Engineering clubs. In The Record article written about her, Mrs. Mistretta said fostering a "can-do" attitude in students is the benchmark of her success as a teacher.
"My dad always told me that there is no such word as can't," she said. "I pass this same thought to my students to believe in themselves. It is crucial to tap into each student's believe that they are capable of success."
As a teacher, Mistretta says she hopes her students are confident enough "to realize their innate talents in being producers rather than consumers of technology." Although Coronel is far from embarking on a career, she gives Mistretta high marks as an educator and as an individual.
"She is a wonderful teacher and an overall amazing person," said Coronel. "Mrs. Mistretta cares about us so much and makes sure we get the most out of every project, have fun, and work to our fullest abilities. She is very positive and patient as well."
Ms. Linda Chelotti'76, a history teacher and lacrosse coach at IHA, was nominated by Sofia Ciprian'17 for the Civics, History of Social Studies category. The Record article states Ms. Chelotti "revels in the opportunity to grow the minds and hearts of young women."
"Ms. Chelotti has been a very important teacher for my IHA education because she taught me to think critically," wrote Ciprian. "She taught me that school is not about memorizing and regurgitation information; instead it should be about thinking analytically in order to derive answers. This changed my entire learning process...she has made me desire to learn more and to want to make a difference in our society."
Chelotti is passionate about the subject of history, too. "That's music to my ears," when her students tell her they used to hate history and now they love it. "I want history to be fun, exciting, interesting." Learning about the past is a perfect opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, she said, and each day she uses one of nine tools to explore the required curriculum, including accuracy, points of view, significance, purpose, assumptions, implications, autonomy, integrity and empathy. Students are encouraged to question their teacher in addition to the annals of history.
Additionally, Dr. Maura Tuite, a member of IHA's Class of 1981, was nominated in the Special Education/Resource Teaching category for her role as a counselor at Teaneck High School. Immaculate Heart Academy was well represented! Thank you to Dr. Brian Chinni, CEO & Founder of The Madison Institute, keynote speaker at The Record Outstanding Educators Awards Celebration & Breakfast. Additional thanks to sponsors, TMI Education and Ramapo College of New Jersey, and to The Record for recognizing our exceptional teachers.