“I am excited to represent Toms River and Ocean County as the 2022-2023 NJ State Teacher of the Year,” Girtain said. “New Jersey is ranked highly nationally because of the great school districts we have across the state, and all the people who help make education function.”
For 27 years, Christine Girtain has taught science at Toms River Regional Schools. A High School North graduate herself, and former student athlete, she has made it her life’s work to teach others while constantly seeking to expand her own knowledge of science, the environment, technology, and anything else she finds interesting, which is almost everything. Her efforts frequently and reliably transcend the classroom and traditional teacher responsibilities, and as such she’s become something of an expert in securing funding, hosting field trips, forging partnerships with agencies of higher education and, of course, the subject matter itself.
“I love networking different interest groups together, using their individual strengths to combine for a more robust, broader reach,” she said. “Sustainable growth, both mental and physical, means that as we grow we meet our needs without compromising the needs of future generations.”
Superintendent Citta and the district team is making plans to celebrate the momentous achievement with a pep rally at RWJBarnabas Health Arena Oct. 17, which will be livestreamed. At the event, students from North and South will lead the cheers, those who have been impacted by Girtain’s teaching will speak, and the New Jersey Education Association will present her with a car to use for a full year. Certainly, she will have plenty of places to go as the state's education ambassador, including trips, trainings, and one special venture down to Washington, D.C. to meet the President of the United States.
In the meantime, the praise pouring in from colleagues, peers, and students has been effusive and filled with pride in Girtain’s accomplishment. It’s clear that everyone who knows her well knows equally well that the New Jersey Department of Education nailed this one.
“Christine Girtain is a mosaic of inspiration as an educator, an innovator and simply a genuine person who makes a difference in our community,” said High School South Principal Kevin Raylman. “She creates a scaffolding of opportunities that enable individual students the chance to accomplish great things. Ms. Girtain has established an academic structure that pushes students and enables them to realize their untapped potential. Additionally, her educational presence impacts her colleagues as she both inspires and encourages the professionals around her. Whether it is an intense student-driven experiment or through something as mundane as a collegial conversation in the hallway, Ms. Girtain is making a positive and profound change."
“We are truly proud to have the good fortune to grow and learn from her on a daily basis.”
Watch TRSTV's video tribute to Christine Girtain: