Toms River North teacher wins “Excellence in Education Award”
Twenty-nine years of commitment to her students is a major reason why Pamela Dixon Kuhn of Toms River High School North was designated Teacher of the Year, and won the annual "Excellence in Education" Award from the shore's 10th District state legislators. But it's far from the only reason.
Kuhn began teaching at the home of the Mariners in 1986 and, over the course of her career, taught a variety of science classes and served as the schools yearbook advisor for the last 20 before retiring.
With a smile from cheek to cheek and tears of joy ready to fall, Kuhn accepted the "Excellence in Education Award" plaque and resolution from Assemblyman Greg McGuckin with great humility.
"It means so much after retirement, having received this award...it's just the epitome of my career," said Kuhn. "I'm just so honored and happy."
Humbled by receiving this award Kuhn admits it was also a pleasant surprise.
"I had no idea I would receive this award because there are so many fine candidates," said Kuhn. "I'm in awe of receiving this award."
The 10th District delegation, which consists of McGuckin, Assemblyman Dave Wolfe, and Senator Jim Holzapfel, present the award to the elementary, middle, or high school teacher who best exemplifies commitment and dedication to the classroom.
"She has developed an outstanding rapport with her colleagues and students who admire her innovative classroom techniques," said Holzapfel. "We are honored to present this award to such an exceptional educator."
"After reviewing Ms. Dixon Kuhn's resume it is obvious that her commitment to teaching extends beyond the classroom," said Wolfe.
"She is a reflection of the outstanding level of education at the Toms River School District and the State of New Jersey," said McGuckin. "We extend our sincere best wishes in all of her future endeavors."
Over the course of her teaching days, Kuhn taught classes including Earth Science, Physical Science and Physics along with being a class adviser.
"In my earlier years I taught Earth Science, and I have a lot of memories of kids who really got an appreciation for the earth and the weather," explained Kuhn. "I've had students who have transitioned into careers, like one kid who became a weatherman."
Later in her career she collected even more memories with her students.
"When I taught the Authentic Science Research, that was a really special time because I would be with the kids for about three years and so I got to know them on a personal level as well," said Kuhn.
She says it's a true honor to receive this award, especially following the award she was recognized with earlier this year.
"I thought that was wonderful, but this is beyond belief," expressed Kuhn.
Her principal for the final years of her service, Ed Keller explains her outstanding commitment and dedication.
"She has a passion for scientific research and that showed...that showed the students," said Keller. "We've had many students over the years who have gained invaluable experience. You see that now when they come back because their doing so well in college and beyond because of her."
The transition following her retirement this year has been great Kuhn adds, but she still misses coming to school everyday.
"I've learned to transition to working with my husband and his business, however I really miss the kids," said Kuhn. "I still miss teaching and especially the students."