Notre Dame Academy Teacher wins on the 25th Anniversary of the NJ Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year Award

TRENTON- On October 9th, Julia Guthrie, a teacher at Notre Dame Academy in Palisades Park, New Jersey, was presented with the New Jersey Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year Award for 2018 by the New Jersey Council for American Private Education (NJCAPE) at the New Jersey Department of Education in Trenton, New Jersey.

Dr. George Corwell, Director of the Office of Education for the New Jersey Catholic Conference and Chairperson of the Selection Committee for the award, commented that Julia Guthrie, the two semifinalists, Elaine Petsu, and Stephen Mitchell “are committed to the highest level of professional growth, as well as to quality instruction and character development in their students.  Their dedication and the dedication of so many other teachers in nonpublic schools advance the lives of both nonpublic school children and the communities in which they live.”

Mark Valvano, Principal of Notre Dame Academy, Julia Guthrie and her husband, and Dr. Lamont Repollet, Commissioner of NJ Department of Education

Upon receiving the prestigious honor, Ms. Guthrie stated, “New Jersey has a sterling reputation when it comes to education and knowing that so many New Jersey students learn in a nonpublic setting and knowing the caliber of teachers that work to serve them I am truly humbled by this award.”

Ms. Guthrie, a product of Catholic elementary and high schools, added “without those years I would not be the educator or person I am today… a passionately curious person. It gave me a love of reading that allowed me to access worlds beyond my own, inspired me to always push myself to be better, and the responsibility to put the interest of others before my own. Qualities I attempt to impart to my students today. It saddens me that for many a nonpublic education remains out of reach. The vigor and values should be accessible to all New Jersey families regardless of circumstance.”

“It is an honor for the 93 Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Newark that one of our own would receive such an award,” said Dr. Margaret Dames, Secretary for Catholic Education/Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Newark. Dr. Dames went on to add, “this honor is a testament to her dedication and of all those in nonpublic education especially at Notre Dame Academy and Mark Valvano, the school’s principal.”


Information about Ms. Julia Guthrie:

Julia Guthrie and her family

Ms. Guthrie has spent six years in education, the last five at Notre Dame Academy.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from William Paterson University and a Master’s Degree in Education with a Special Education Endorsement from Felician University.

Ms. Guthrie was selected to attend a special seminar entitled ‘Thomas Jefferson and the Enlightenment” a summer teaching seminar sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History at the University of Edinburgh this past summer.  In the past, she has attended other seminars sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History at Princeton University and the Ashland Weekend Colloquium at Ashland University in Ohio.

Ms. Guthrie views education as a process capable of changing both individuals and society for the better.  She notes that “students need to be grappling with problems that are personally meaningful to them.”  She receives personal satisfaction from the opportunity to help avowed nonreaders find the one book that changes everything for them.  She has developed three projects which promote academic excellence in students and professional growth in teachers.  They include local history projects which identify places which tell the story of the town where their school is located.

She has also designed a unit on Global Education, and her students have partnered with a school in Australia over a trimester to share their values and learn about their differences.  She organized a yearly conference, nErDcampNJ, which was designed to connect authors of children’s literature with teachers and teachers with one another.

She is involved with community service at the Saint Matthew food kitchen and a program entitled “Windows and Mirrors: Asian American Books in the Classroom.”