Mr. Herbert Named Teacher of the Year
"I want my students to strive to be the best versions of themselves in and outside of the classroom."
At Freehold Township High School each year, a teacher is chosen as Teacher of the Year. This year, 2017-2018, Mr Herbert, the man, the myth, the Latin legend, has been chosen.
Mr. Herbert is a Latin teacher here at Township and being Teacher of the Year has been a “dream come true” for him. In addition to being a Latin teacher, Mr. Herbert coached wrestling and advised multiple clubs such as Free the Children, Seeds of Africa, and a Live Life Project. He also lifeguards and surfs in the summer.
All of his students can see how passionate of a teacher he is and how much he adores his students no matter what grade. He admits himself “due to the classes that I teach, I’m lucky enough to teach some of my students over multiple years. For many, I will be teaching their first and last day of high school. Over the years we’ve created strong bonds and it is really special to see them grow as young men and women.” This is true. Mr. Herbert always reminds us that we inspire him everyday and that he actually loves coming to work to teach his favorite students. There’s never a dull moment in class. We laugh, joke, and have fun but we also get the job done.
When asking Mr. Herbert what he loved about teaching the most he said “Obviously I love teaching students to be Latin scholars, but my favorite aspect of teaching is ‘Life Homework.’ It is just five minutes every Friday to hopefully inspire, brighten the days of my students or show them how precious life is. I want my students to strive to be the best versions of themselves in and outside of the classroom.” This is also very true. Life Homework is the thing that students look forward to most in class because it does inspire us and it does mold us into better versions of ourselves. Five minutes takes us a long way and broadens our horizons. Life homework can go from appreciating the little things to not holding worthless grudges to realizing how amazing the world is with creatures such as elephants. Life Homework gets deep too.. We even get tears sometimes.
Being recognized as Teacher of the Year is a dream come true for Mr. Herbert and he says “teaching is my passion, my purpose, and has brought such joy to my life. I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring teachers so it’s an honor for me.” It’s easy for students to say they enjoy having Mr. Herbert as a teacher but it’s quite obvious other teachers enjoy him too.
Senior Bianca Hazel says “I had heard nothing but the best about him [Mr. Herbert] and his unique teaching style. After meeting him I instantly understand the reason why he was chosen to hold the “Teacher of the Year” title. He’s respectful, holds good values, and expresses the proper traits a good teacher should.”
Another student, Maddison Stein says “Mr. Herbert is absolutely one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Not only is he an amazing teacher, but he is an amazing person. I’m so lucky to have him twice during high school because he has taught me so many valuable life skills like always looking on the bright side of things even when everything around you seems terrible and to always believe in yourself. Being in a latin class with Mr. Herbert absolutely contributed to my love of the language. He, for sure, s not only teacher of the year, but THE teacher of the world and deserves to celebrate George Herbert day everyday. Congratulations Mr. Herbert!”
A Latin student, Shannon Flannigan says, “He is super awesome and nice and deserved to win. Whenever something is going on in my life, I love going to his class because he just makes learning so much fun and brings such a great energy that I seem to forget all my problems and enjoy life in the moment.”
Current student Jackie Rommeney says, “Herbert is truly one of a kind. His love for his work and students shines through everything he does. He cares so much about his students’ achievements and always encourages them to reach their goals. He’s one of the best Latin teachers I’ve ever had, and is willing to do anything to help them understand the material, including playing the guitar and making up songs! I’m so lucky to have had him as one of my teachers, both Latin and learning new life lessons!”
Being a student of Herbert’s, I know he deserves this title. He’s fair to all students and makes sure we all understand the material. He always offers extra help and tells us never to be afraid to ask questions. He’s a unique teacher in the best way.
“Audentes fortuna iuvat” (fortune favors the bold) and “vive vitam cotidie” (live life everyday) are Mr. Herbert’s favorite Latin quotes because they are a reminder for him to make the most of every day and to live life to the fullest.
“Life is short and beautiful. I try to make the most of each moment.”
Mrs. Kearns, Educational Services Professional of the Year
"It’s really nice to help people, and it’s always rewarding to help people, too."
Q: So, how does it feel to win?
A: I’m very honored! It’s really nice to be recognized in the school. I respect the other two people given the award a lot, so it’s an honor to be in one category with them.
Q: How long have you been working at the school? How did you start as a guidance counselor?
A: I was a business major in college, at The College of New Jersey, but after having some internships I decided that I wanted to work with people, in in a different way than in the business field. I decided that I really wanted to work with students – particularly high school students – so I went to grad school at TCNJ for the school counseling degree. I had a really good experience. I graduated in 2005 and started working here, at FTHS, the same year – so this is my thirteenth year. Some things have changed in the department and the technology we have, and how we work with students, but for the most part our basic role remains the same and it’s to help students with whatever it is that they need help with at the time. And that’s one thing that I really like about the job because it’s always different: the day can vary a lot, the students that you see from one day to the next can need something very different, so it’s never boring.
Q: Can you tell me some about memorable experiences that you have had while working as a guidance counselor?
A: I’ve seen a lot of students blossom in high school. Maybe they come in and are very shy, or have some academic difficulties, and they learn to use the support in the school to build on their strengths, and improve, and end up finding the confidence to do well in high school, socially or academically. That’s always been something I look forward to.
My role has changed from year to year: we always do different activities within the guidance department. I’ve been the scholarship coordinator and I’ve seen some students really benefit from that, the opportunities that we put out there to them. I help organize the testing for Brookdale and for the ASVAB, which is exciting – I get to see students take a step closer to their career and education goals, so I enjoy that as well.
It’s really nice to help people, and it’s always rewarding to help people, too.
Q: Did you know that you have your own day in Freehold Township now? How does that feel?
A: That was very nice too! Really humbling, and more attention than I’m used to – or comfortable with – but that was really nice.
(editor’s note: December 13, 2017 was officially declared “Susan Kearns Day” by Mayor Preston)
Q: Do you have any final things you’d like to say?
A: It’s just nice to come to work and work with students, and parents, and staff, and to brainstorm ideas to help in different situation. I feel like people who work in the school want to make students too, so that makes my job easier because we’re all working together.