HADDONFIELD, N.J. (CBS) — A Camden County teacher was just named the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, and we’re giving her 3 cheers for how she plans to use her new title.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Kimberly Dickstein Hughes said.
There’s really no other way for Dickstein Hughes to put it.
A few weeks ago, the Haddonfield Memorial High School teacher was not only named New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, she got married at the school, only four days before the award ceremony.
“Yes. I am feeling very blessed,” she said.
“I can’t think of a better teacher,” senior Uri McMillan said. “She’s done so much for the community and impacted everyone in the school and this area.”
This is home for Dickstein Hughes. She grew up here, went to Rutgers and has been an English teacher at Haddonfield Memorial High School for the past 11 years.
“She’s influencing our students, and working with them to just continue to grow as human beings is just amazing to watch,” Principal Tammy McHale said.
She is praised for getting her students involved, whether its raising money for tuition for an international student or encouraging students to write to legislators about causes they believe in.
“I think it’s important to build community and be a part of that community,” she said.
That’s why she got married in the school’s courtyard.
“I wanted my students involved, I wanted my colleagues to come,” Dickstein Hughes said, “and the only way to do that was to bring my ceremony to my village.”
In a few months, she’ll go on sabbatical for advanced training. She will attend conferences and even meet the president.
“Now I get to meet more people and my village grows, and my community is so much bigger than I thought it could be,” Dickstein Hughes said. “I really want to do good work as State Teacher of the Year. I’ve said many times that it’s all well and good to have a title, but it’s really a call to action.”
She said, she doesn’t call it “her” year but “our” year. She believes it’s the year of the teacher.