Mrs. Christina Simons
M.S., Education – Johns Hopkins University, 2003
B.A., English – Johns Hopkins University, 2001
Christina Simons began her career in education in 2002 as a teacher of English & Language Arts/Literacy for both 7th and 8th grade with Hillsborough Middle School. In addition to her work in the classroom over the last 15 years, Mrs. Simons has created and developed several new extra-curricular programs to inspire students’ creativity and community activism.
In 2005, she established the annual Earth Day Environmentors Club by which HMS students develop and lead elementary students from around the district in celebrating Earth Day with a day full of hands-on activities centered around environmental awareness and appreciation. In 2006, Mrs. Simons established the HMS “ShakesPeer” Society recruiting students to take on the challenge of performing works of Shakespeare and being the first middle school in the state of New Jersey to enter the Shakesperience Festival at Drew University. Since then, the ShakesPeer Society has promoted “Bard in the Boro,” a Shakespearian outreach program for elementary students each spring and most recently added the Edgar Allen SymPOEsium for Hillsborough in addition to their annual preparations for the New Jersey Shakesperience Festival at Drew.
When asked about what inspires her work, Mrs. Simons pointed to the many images of famous individuals and quotes interspersed with student works around her classroom:
“I think it is important to surround yourself with images and messages of the heroes in your life that can remind you daily of the energy and passion and, yes, hard work, that it takes to achieve the sense of fulfillment you want in life. Growing up I was privileged to have many energetic and incandescent teachers in my life. And I’ve always appreciated the sacrifices and challenges of teaching. It is a hard job, but it’s the ‘being hard that makes it great’ as Tom Hanks says in a League of Their Own. It’s the ‘being hard’ that gives every teacher a chance to be a hero, and we must never lose sight of that - never lose sight of the strength, the brilliance, and the joy that we can project for the young people around us who so desperately need heroes at this point in their lives. Teaching gives us that opportunity. It’s what my hands have chosen to do and I’m proud to do it with all my heart.”
For her incomparable work in the classroom, for her creativity and passion to bring forward new enrichment activities for students that extend the love of literacy to all children, and for her truly dedicated, inspired hard work each day that makes her a hero to so many, HMS is proud to name Christina Simons as HMS Teacher of the Year 2017.