Kimberly Moreno ’06 is a health science teacher at Union City High School, and was recently awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award for NJ. Before she was an esteemed educator, Moreno studied Biology at Montclair State, and found that her experiences as a student prepared her for a career in the classroom.
“I came to teaching as an alternate route teacher, so I did not have the pleasure of taking any education classes at Montclair State. However, I was provided a wonderful experience as a biology major, which made me a master of my content and truly prepared for the secondary classroom,” says Moreno. “I had phenomenal professors that constantly pushed their students to reach their fullest potential.”
Moreno credits her experiences at Montclair State University for teaching her organization and time management, in addition to preparing her for her career.
“My fondest memory was being a part of the Health Careers Program (HCP) and Greek organization Phi Sigma Sigma, Epsilon Theta. My advisors of the HCP became my family along with the other students in the program and always had our best interests in their hearts. As for Phi Sigma Sigma, the organization taught me how to lead an organization and manage my time effectively where my academics wouldn’t suffer.”
In addition to her extracurricular activities and studies shaping her experiences, Moreno notes that many faculty and staff members had an impact on her.
“Dr. Scott Kight, an associate professor in the Biology Department, had an amazing teaching style and such a passion for the subject that I was always engaged,” says Moreno. “He pushed his students to always be prepared.”
The faculty in the Health Careers Program also influenced Moreno greatly.
“Ms. Washington, Ms. Smith, Ms. Lorenzo, and Ms. Pignatello treated me like their daughter and saw potential in me when I did not see it in myself. They are inspiring women who give their time so that their students succeed,” and adds, “Ms. Smith even attended my high school graduation before I was even a student at Montclair State!”
Moreno was recently awarded the Milken Educator Award for in recognition of her teaching abilities and potential. “Being the Milken Educator Award Recipient for New Jersey is an honor. I want to represent what the award means, which is to be an excellent educator. I will continue to work hard so that my students succeed in whatever their futures hold for them.”
When asked what advice she would give to current students looking to enter the field of education, she reminds students that teaching is a calling.
“Understand that education is not something that everyone can do, it is a calling to serve students and treat them with dignity and respect. Educators mold the future and that is a lot of responsibility. You must always have students at the forefront of all decisions you make in the classroom. Be prepared to wear multiple hats throughout the day – such as: teacher, mom, father, aunt, uncle and counselor. You mean so much to your students,” says Moreno.