Danielle Hickey ’11, a graduate of Rider’s Master of Counseling Services program, was named a recipient of the 2011 Teacher as Hero Award, sponsored by State Farm. The Teacher as Hero Award honors the outstanding work of dedicated educators who give their best every day to inspire, nurture and mentor their students.
Hickey, a teacher at the O’Brien Academy in Ewing, was honored on March 14 at the Teacher as Hero Awards Ceremony, held at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. The event was emceed by NBC 10 morning news anchor Lori Wilson.
Described by Dr. Trevor Buser, assistant professor of Counseling, as “one of the finest graduates of our program,” Hickey was honored for her ability to motivate her students, who have special needs, to develop the confidence they need to learn. Her students attend the O’Brien Academy, an innovative alternative educational program created by the Ewing Township Public Schools to benefit a cohort of identified general and special education students in Grades 4 to 8.
“Danielle believes in the abilities of all her students and co-workers, and creates lessons, as well as an effective learning environment, that cater to both the students’ and teachers’ individual learning styles,” said Suzanne Carbonaro, NCATE assessment coordinator for Rider’s School of Education. “She gives students a safe place to learn and creates a classroom that teaches students to respect others’ diversities.”
Over the last seven years as a teacher in the Ewing Public Schools, Hickey has earned praise for helping students enhance their critical thinking and literacy skills in order to achieve higher reading levels and increase their comprehension. Carbonaro also commended Hickey’s keen ability to observe the way students learn, and to develop strategies that help them make a connection to the material.
“Passion is contagious and that is what Danielle spreads in her classroom, in her school district, and in her local community through everything she does,” she explained of Hickey, who earned her bachelor’s degree at The College of New Jersey. “She contributes, she is collaborative, and she is caring.”
All Teacher as Hero Awards winners received gifts from the National Liberty Museum and State Farm, and have their pictures displayed on a new Teacher as Hero Awards exhibit outside of the National Liberty Museum Education Center in full view of its visitors.