Brigantine North Middle School Teacher Named NJCTS Educator of the Year

Karen Benchoff is honored by the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome

Brigantine, N.J.- Ms. Karen Benchoff of Brigantine North Middle School saw one of her students struggling with a misunderstood disorder and took it upon herself to shed some light and understanding among all her seventh-grade pupils. For her work, Ms. Benchoff has been named “Educator of the Year” by the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. She was nominated by Beth and Michael Bliss for her work with their son Jules. He has Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary motor and vocal tics affecting as many as 1 in every 100 people.

Ms. Benchoff created a classroom program to educate students about Tourette Syndrome and the differences that make us all unique. Beth Bliss describes the impact of Ms. Benchoff’s advocacy:

“Ms Benchoff’s program was a resounding success. Jules received letters at the end of that school day from dozens of his classmates expressing overwhelming concern, healthy curiosity and support. What was most impressive was that, when he went to school the next day Jules felt supported by his peers without feeling singled out. The response had everything to do with Ms. Benchoff’s careful approach to the topic…We cannot emphasize enough how much harder it is for TS sufferers when the people around them don’t understand what the disorder is all about. Ms. Benchoff’s remarkable skills as an educator and her caring spirit have made a lasting difference in the life of our child.”

“We congratulate and thank Ms. Benchoff for her work in spreading positive awareness of Tourette Syndrome,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. Since 2003, NJCTS has awarded 10 “Educator of the Year Awards” and 180 NJCTS Scholarships to graduating high school seniors with TS. To learn more about NJCTS, please visit njcts.org.