NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) has awarded the 2023 Educator of the Year to Jennifer Wishnick, a special education teacher at Matawan Regional High School in Aberdeen.
Since 2004, this award has been designated for educators in New Jersey who have made a significant difference in the life of a child, or children, with Tourette Syndrome (TS). Wishnick was nominated by Martha Santiago whose son Noah has been in her English and Science classes for three years.
“She has really been able to connect with my son as a teacher and mentor,” Santiago wrote. “Noah struggles with school refusal and Mrs. Wishnick will call him at home to try and encourage him to attend. On days that he hasn’t attended she’ll stop by the house on her way home to drop off schoolwork and give him a few words of encouragement to attend the next day.”
Santiago explained that Wishnick took the time to understand Noah’s Tourette Syndrome and reached out to her for help in meeting his needs in the classroom. She mentored Noah on controlling his emotion in the classroom, and has spent time helping with social skills.
“I can tell you that she goes above and beyond, but that still falls short in describing the type of teacher she is. I truly trust that Mrs. Wishnick has Noah’s best interest in mind.”
“We are grateful to educators like Mrs. Wishnick who take the time to make a difference and help all students succeed,” NJCTS Executive Director Patricia Phillips said. “It is part of our mission that all students with TS are empowered and accepted like Noah has been in her classroom.”
Through education outreach programs like in-service presentations and webinars, NJCTS provides education professionals throughout the state with strategies and techniques for working with children with TS in the classroom, as well as ways to promote a more positive, inclusive, and successful classroom environment for all students.
Wishnick will be presented with her award at a luncheon on June 2 in Bridgewater. To learn more about the NJCTS Education Outreach program, visit www.njcts.org or call 908.575.7350.