HMS Educators of the Year 2018

HMS Educators of the Year 2018
Posted on 01/28/2018

Mrs. Jennifer Harmsen, 
HMS Teacher of the Year
 Mrs. Doris Levine, HMS Ed Services Professional of the Year for 2018

Jennifer HarmsenJennifer Harmsen - HMS Teacher of the Year - 2018

B.S., Communication - Northwestern University (Chicago), 1986

M.Ed., (Education) - Rutgers University-New Brunswick, 1991

M.A., Educational Leadership - Seton Hall University, 2013

M.A., History - Rutgers University/NJIT-Newark, 2015

Ms. Harmsen began her teaching career in 1991 as an elementary teacher in South Brunswick. In 1997 she was hired in HIllsborough Township, having taught at both Woods Road School and Auten Road Intermediate before joining Hillsborough Middle School as a teacher of social studies for 7th grade in 2005. Over the years Ms. Harmsen has been an active and respected member of the New Jersey Teachers Advisory Panel for the Department of Education, the Hillsborough Superintendent’s Advisory Council, district strategic planning committees, the HMS Principal’s Advisory Committee, as well as a founding member of the HMS School Improvement Panel and Cultural Awareness & Sensitivity Forum. She has been one of the lead teachers in our district 1:1 technology integration efforts, serving as a pilot teacher, evaluating iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom back in 2012 and continuing today to be recognized for her innovative uses of technology in the classroom to enhance student learning. In 2016 she was among those featured in an article on educational technology initiatives by the National Education Association, and she presented at a Google Summit in New Jersey on technology applications and learning.  

However, it is her work with students, both in and out of the classroom, and her dedication to ensuring that they each take ownership and pride in their learning for which Ms. Harmsen is most noted. Her lessons consistently focus on high level reasoning and active engagement with every student and on every level.   

“One of my goals as a teacher,” Ms. Harmsen says, “is always to help my students become more independent learners as well as teachers themselves. When I give presentations, I make sure that the students interact with the lesson through various apps and websites not only reflecting on the lessons but contributing their thoughts and ideas, too. With every lesson students need opportunities to explore a topic more deeply and share with each other, exchanging ideas and refining their understanding through their work with one another. I strive to provide the students with a variety of lessons and experiences that make them yearn to learn even more about history.”  

In recent years Ms. Harmsen has worked with students to establish the first history club at HMS, and her students annually visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to see first hand the great archaeological and artistic wonders of both ancient and modern civilizations. When not working directly with students after class to provide feedback on a project or assignment, you’ll find Ms. Harmsen writing notes of encouragement, support and guidance to current and former students alike.   

When asked about the advice she has for new teachers, Ms. Harmsen replied:

“Never forget the vital role you play in a young person’s life. You may never know how you have touched a mind, a heart or a soul. Let this be your driving force throughout your career in education. The positive impact you make on a child’s life is what a life of teaching is all about.”

For her work as a mentor to both students and teachers alike, as a leading voice in curriculum development and educational improvement initiatives, and for her tireless dedication and advocacy for the success of all children, HMS is proud to recognize Ms. Jennifer Harmsen as Teacher of the Year for 2018.


Doris LevineDoris Levine - HMS Educational Services Professional of the Year - 2018

B.A., Economics - City University of New York (Hunter College) With a background in economics and computers, Doris Levine joined Hillsborough Schools as an instructional assistant in 2004.  She has worked with special needs students at Woods Road Elementary, the High School, and for the last several years at HMS. Instructional assistants play a very special role in our schools.  They provide vital supports for students with a wide range of learning disabilities, physical challenges, and behavioral disorders, and the very best - like Doris - do this each day with incredible care, patience, and a quiet fortitude receding into the background and allowing their students to shine and grow.   

When we had a student with severe hearing impairment and a new technology that could allow for an aide to transcribe classroom interactions in real-time for the student to follow via her laptop - Doris was there to go through exhaustive training and take on the role for that student so she could participate fully in Hillsborough schools.  When a teacher of moderately disabled students suggested that her students could help manage the school lost and found as part of a workplace readiness skills program - Doris was there helping the students develop the website, learn how to take inventory and catalog items, and showing them how to promote the site and provide a valuable community service for their peers - delivering lost items back to their grateful owners.  And when a student presented with a complicated profile of cognitive and behavioral conditions requiring detailed attention to his program and the ability to build a trusting and positive relationship - Doris was there and she has made all the difference in the world for that student’s success today.  

For her incredible patience, creativity, and unyielding dedication to doing what needs to be done in helping every child - no matter his or her condition - to develop independence and valuable life skills, HMS is proud to recognize Mrs. Doris Levine as our Educational Services Professional of the Year for 2018.

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