The NJ Governor’s Educator of the Year Award annually recognizes the most dedicated individuals in the field of public education. The winners of this elite award are individuals who strive to not just teach students, but to inspire them to perform at their maximum potential.
Belleville High School is honored to have Guidance Counselor Mrs. Gena Figliuzzi-Dubuque and Educator Mr. Michael Bardt as the two winners of the New Jersey Governor’s Educator Award. These two dedicated Belleville High School staff members have invested extensive time and energy serving the student body of Belleville High School.
According to the New Jersey Department of Education, “The Governor's Educator of the Year Program highlights educational innovation, student achievement, the rewards of teaching, and important services outside the classroom environment that lead to student success. Further, it seeks to attract public attention to the positive aspects of our educational system.”
Mrs. Figliuzzi-Dubuque has been working in the position of guidance counselor for 9 years at Belleville High School. Being a guidance counselor is a very demanding position which requires tremendous amounts of patience and persistence, especially when dealing with emotionally distraught high school students. Mrs. Figliuzzi-Dubuque is empathetic and well-mannered, and her colleagues admire her ease and calm when dealing with a variety of situations. Mrs. Figliuzzi-Dubuque also plays an active role in the school community, helping organize Senior Graduation Night to bid an unforgettable farewell to the graduating class, as well as being one of the coordinators of the annual event, “Mr. and Mrs. Belleville.” Mrs. Figliuzzi-Dubuque advocated to other staff members, “We are here for the students, maintain a positive attitude for them.”
Mr. Michael Bardt is a Business Education teacher in his fifth year in the Belleville School District. Mr. Bardt challenges his students to work hard and be proud to put your name on everything you do. “What works for me as an educator is to try to bring the real world into the classroom. I use my own personal experiences and real life examples to explain the relevancy of the subject matter. I try to correlate learning a particular skill with how it will help the students throughout their lives, especially how it relates to finding and keeping a job.” Mr. Bardt continued, “My goal is to have the students actively engaged in classroom discussions and activities that will help prepare them for future endeavors."
Mr. Bardt underwent a difficult esophageal cancer surgery in July. Nevertheless, he returned to Belleville High School in September, surprising even his doctor. Co-worker Miss Wendy Holland stated, “He has demonstrated true bravery and poise while staying dedicated to his passion of educating and inspiring all of the students of Belleville High School to immerse themselves in their studies in order to have a successful future.”
Mr. Bardt and Mrs. Figliuzzi-Dubuque epitomize inspirational Belleville High School staff members. Mr. Bardt and Mrs. Figliuzzi-Dubuque do not educate for the paycheck; rather, they are there for the young men and women who bring them the most joy. They come to work every day to help the students reach their hidden potential.