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June 25, 2015

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored two Essex County Vo-Tech School District teachers during its Wednesday, June 24th, meeting held at Montclair Town Hall: Salvatore Lima, a Science teacher at North 13th Street School, for being named the 2015 “Essex County Teacher of the Year”; and Brett Boon, a Culinary Arts teacher at West Caldwell Tech, for being named the 2015 “New Jersey PROSTART Educator of Excellence”.  The Board’s Commendations were presented by Freeholders Patricia Sebold of Livingston and Leonard Luciano of Livingston.

Science teacher Salvatore Lima (front, left), and Culinary Arts teacher Brett Boon (front, right), both teachers in the Essex County Vo-Tech School District, were honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders during its Wednesday, June 24th, meeting held at Montclair Town Hall.  Lima was named the 2015 “Essex County Teacher of the Year” by the NJ Department of Education, and Boon was named the “New Jersey PROSTART Educator of Excellence” by the NJ Restaurant Association.  Also pictured above are: (from left to right) District 5 Freeholder Cynthia Toro of Bloomfield; Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill of Montclair; Dr. Frank Cocchiola, Jr., Superintendent of the Essex County Vo-Tech District; District 4 Freeholder Leonard Luciano of West Caldwell; and Freeholder At-Large Patricia Sebold of Livingston.  Photo by Glen Frieson

 “I am here with colleague, Freeholder Leonard Luciano, to honor two outstanding teachers in our Essex County Vocational Technical School System, and as educators ourselves, we couldn’t be more delighted”, said Freeholder Patricia Sebold, who retired as an English teacher after 30 years, previously served on the Vo-Tech Board of Education, and currently serves on its Board of School Estimate.

Addressing Lima and Boon, Sebold went on to say, “It’s because of outstanding teachers like you that our Vo-Tech schools and students are among the best anywhere in the state, if not the country.”

“I want to commend the Board of Freeholders for recognizing the teachers in our system”, said Interim Vo-Tech Superintendent Dr. Frank Cocchiola, Jr.  “I’ve been in education for 47 years, 25 of them as a superintendent, but I’ve only been with the Vo-Tech system for the last 18 months and I have to tell you, what a revelation it has been!  The quality of our students and our teachers has been amazing and astounding to me.  It has been a very well-kept secret and we need to get the word out.”

“I’d like to thank the Board for this honor, as well as my Superintendent, Dr. Cocchiola, for being here today”, said Salvatore Lima.  “In order to do this, I need the support from the school, and working at the Vo-Tech, well, that’s all the support you need.  Everyone has helped me to reach where I am today, and I’m very appreciative of that.”

Brett Boon also thanked Superintendent Cocchiola for his attendance, as well as his Principal at North 13th Street, John Dolan, “…for his continuing support of the Culinary Arts program”.  He spoke proudly of the fact that he has 20 graduating seniors this year, eight of whom will be attending secondary culinary schools.  “This year is also the first time that students from our Culinary Arts Department placed in every culinary competition we entered.  I appreciate this award, and I’m very honored.”

Salvatore Lima has been a Science teacher in the District’s West Caldwell Tech since 2009, and the District’s Science Department Chair since 2013.  He was first selected as the District’s “Teacher of the Year”, and then selected as the Essex County “Teacher of the Year” from among all the district “teachers of the year” in the county by the New Jersey Department of Education.

In addition to his outstanding classroom teaching skills and administrative acumen as the department chair, Lima heads a school leadership team, wrote the district’s biology curriculum, developed an instructional support program to improve student performance on the NJ Biology Competency Assessment, and coaches the boys’ volleyball team.  He has served as the Lead Member of the School Improvement Panel since 2014, and also steps-in as Acting School Administrator in the absence of the Principal and Vice Principal.

He is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Science Teachers Association, and the New Jersey Educators Association.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rutgers and an M. E. degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas.  He also holds professional education licenses in Principal Certificate of Eligibility, K-12; Supervisor Standard, K-12; and Teacher of Biological Science Standard, 9-12.

Brett Boon, a Culinary Arts teacher at Essex County’s North 13th Street Tech, was named the “New Jersey 2015 PROSTART Educator of Excellence” by the NJ Restaurant Association as the most dedicated and effective Culinary Arts teacher in the State.

PROSTART is one of the largest industry-supported career technical education programs in the nation that empowers students to achieve long-term successful careers in the restaurant and foodservice sector.  It brings the industry and the classroom together in a 2-year program for students that exposes them to all facets of the industry, and teaches them high standards of excellence.  Boon was selected for this award not only for having attended every PROSTART Professional Development Session himself, but also for having prepared his students to succeed in the NJ PROSTART Competitions and attend Soft Skills Seminars throughout the year.

He has been a Culinary Arts Instructor for the Essex County Vocational-Technical Schools since 2004, where he’s taught students general kitchen procedures and kitchen safety, catered in-service events for groups ranging from 5-300, and helped locate foodservice positions for students with employers like Nanina’s in the Park, The Prudential Center and Panera Bread.  He is also an Advisor for NJ Skills USA and the NJ PROSTART competitions.

In addition to his “PROSTART Educator of Excellence” award, Boon received the “Essex County Teamwork Award” from County Executive DiVincenzo in March.  He earned his A.O.S. degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America, his Bachelor’s degree in Food Service Education from Johnson and Wales University, and his Master’s degree in Hospitality Management from FDU – Teaneck.

Freeholder At-Large Patricia Sebold is currently serving her eighth full term on the Board, while Freeholder Leonard Luciano is currently serving his second full term representing District 4, which includes Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695