Hopatcong teacher receives special education award

Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marie Blistan & Danielle Kovach 
NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan (left) congratulates Kovach upon receiving her award.

Danielle Kovach, a 3rd-grade special education teacher at Tulsa Trail Elementary School, has been selected to receive the 2014 Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year Award from The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the world’s largest special education membership organization.

The Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding teacher of children with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. The award honors a CEC member whose work reflects significant educational success for students, continued professional development, and the highest standard of educational quality.

Kovach, who was named the 2011 New Jersey Teacher of the Year, has been a special education teacher at Tulsa Trail Elementary School since 1997. She is a lifelong learner, having earned two master’s degrees, including one in educational technology, and she regularly attends workshops and webinars to stay current on the latest research to guide her instructional strategies.

Her students benefit from her dedication, nominators say, because while Kovach doesn’t expect perfection, she promotes success. Using a multisensory approach to learning, combined with technology and innovative teaching methods, Kovach facilitates her students’ success to find what works best for each individual student.

A believer in hands-on learning for her students, Kovach does not let budget cutbacks affect her students’ instruction and she has earned some $80,000 in grants for her class and school that have been used for a classroom cooking project, a school store, participation in science fairs and access to technology.

Kovach was recognized during the CEC 2014 Convention & Expo’s Opening General Session, the largest annual gathering of members of the field of special education, April 9, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an international community of educators who are the voice and vision of special and gifted education. CEC’s mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with exceptionalities and their families through professional excellence and advocacy. Visit us at www.cec.sped.org.


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