Clark Fifth Graders Meet Replacement Teacher

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Leave replacement teacher Olivia Gerlitz poses for a picture at the Meet and Greet Evening with her incoming fifth grade students. (Photo courtesy of Clark Public Schools)

Leave replacement teacher Olivia Gerlitz poses for a picture at the Meet and Greet Evening with her incoming fifth grade students. (Photo courtesy of Clark Public Schools)

CLARK – Valley Road School fifth grade students and their parents had the opportunity to meet their new maternity leave replacement teacher, Olivia Gerlitz, at an evening event earlier this week.

Clark Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Knops and Director of Curriculum Ed Grande facilitated the evening, where a packed classroom awaited Gerlitz.

Knops began the evening by explaining in detail the interview process to the parents in attendance: the district received 125 applications for the leave replacement position and the administration interviewing a total of 24 teachers. He then introduced Gerlitz, highlighting her academic record, certifications, student teaching experiences, and hobbies and interests.

Gerlitz is a May 2012 graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where is majored in elementary education and special education, with a minor in autism studies. She gained certification as both an elementary teacher and teacher of students with disabilities. Gerlitz was awarded a number of academic honors, including earning Dean’s List status; being inducted into the International Honor Society of Education, Kappa Delta Pi, and graduating with a grade point average in excess of 3.5. Among her college activities included serving on the Executive Board of Hand to Hand in support of special education students, participating in the Collegiate Challenge where she traveled to South Carolina and Illinois through the Habitant for Humanity, and serving as an ambassador at St. Joseph’s University.

After Knops’ introduction, Gerlitz reviewed a Power Point presentation highlighting her background, educational philosophy, past educational experiences, and contact information. She then had each incoming fifth grader in attendance fill out an interest inventory as a means of sharing unique information about themselves with their teacher. A brief question and answer session then took place, followed by Gerlitz chatting individually with the fifth graders and their families.

Knops commented, “The evening was a success, with our incoming fifth graders having the opportunity to meet their leave replacement teacher. Two years back we started a program called Move-Up Day where students in Grades K-5 meet their next year’s teachers and classmates. Whenever a new teacher comes aboard, we want to provide our students and parents the opportunity to meet their teacher prior to the start of the school year. I’m much appreciative of our parents for their support of our schools and instructional program, it was a delight to see a packed classroom in the middle of July. We are extremely fortunate to have such an educationally oriented community comprised of parents who support our school district and education program.”

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