Teachers of the Year


By Afi Ibragimov and Milana Shindelman

Two teachers have been selected as teachers of the year, Cheryl O’Brien and Amanda Znutas for their outstanding hard work and dedication that they put in each day.

O’Brien teaches general history to students in special education and is an inclusion teacher in history classrooms. She also plays a major role in the STARS program. O’Brien was awarded for her outstanding accomplishments as a teacher inside and outside the classroom where all her time and effort is shown. Her kindness and patience have also landed her respect amongst the students and teachers.

She said that “I put a lot of time and energy into my classes and ensuring that I can do the best for my students. No matter if it’s class, stars, coaching soccer or track. I am also on the I&RS, where we come up with a strategy to help students succeed.”

“I am really grateful that I work with a positive environment where people can learn from each other and succeed.”

Znutas is an educational specialist who helps children with learning disabilities. She taught kindergarten, first, and second-grade children for six years before teaching special ed.  

While being a teacher in Totowa, Znutas decided to venture out and teach in a high school for special children. So far, she has been working in Wayne for two and a half years and loves it.

Znutas says, “I come to work each day knowing that we are offering our students the most effective, appropriate, and thorough services through Special Education and our Related Services.” She is lucky and happy that she is working with the Child Study Team, that provides children with the best education that they need.

When Znutas was presented with the title Educational Specialist of the Year, it was an honor for her. Being a helper teacher has its ups and downs, but Znutas manages to fight through and keep helping special children get the best education that can get. She says, “I can’t put into words how happy it makes me to be recognized in this way, because it tells me that I have been helpful to the students, parents, and faculty in this community which is what I strive for on a daily basis.”

Jessica Tozzi a sophomore says, “When I was a freshman, Ms.O’Brien was a helper teacher in my history class. She always came in the classroom with a smile that spread from ear to ear. Not only did she have a warm personality, but she also had helped many students in the class with not only history but helped them with anything they need. I really think that she deserved the award for everything that she did to make students succeed.”

Both teachers will be recognized at the board meeting the week of SDA.