Kristin Kovatch, a teacher at the North Ward Center's Child Development Center in Newark, has been named "Teacher of the Year," by Newark Public Schools.
Kovach, one of three teachers selected by the district for the annual award, was recognized for her "unbending commitment" to her students throughout her four-year tenure at the preschool.
The annual award is an open acknowledgment of a teacher's effective leadership in the classroom, but Kovatch, who teaches 4- and 5-year-olds at the school located in the Forest Hill section of Newark, sees it somewhat differently.
"For me, this is about helping other educators and being a good representative of the district and the school," she said. "I look forward to incorporating that into my teaching practices and continuing to work toward the best outcomes for my students."
And while Kovatch acknowledged that teaching involves a considerable level of hard work and self-evaluation, it's second nature for her. Hailing from a family of educators—including her mother and her older sister, Danielle Kovatch, also a teacher at The North Ward Center's Child Development Center — she said she has never considered any other profession.
"I was bred to be a teacher," she said, "and our mother was our role model."
A native of Clifton, N.J., Kovatch got her foot in the door as an undergraduate at William Paterson University when Preschool Director Michele Sceppaguercio offered her a position to work part-time as summer help.
"It gave me an opportunity to do my student teaching, but I was thrilled to come on board full-time when I graduated," she said. "They've given me a lot of opportunities to fulfill my goals here."