Darlene Tammara, a teacher at the Matheny School and a resident of Bridgewater, has been selected as one of the "Teachers Who Rock" by Greater Media radio stations WDHA 105.5FM and WMTR 1250AM, located in Cedar Knolls. The stations annually recognize 24 outstanding teachers in New Jersey for their important contribution to society. Each Friday, two winners are announced, and their stories are read on both stations' morning shows. Tammara's name was announced on Friday, January 25. She and the other 23 Teachers Who Rock will be honored at a dinner on April 23 at Ravello Elegant Weddings & Banquets in East Hanover.
The Matheny School is part of the Matheny Medical and Educational Center, a special hospital and educational facility in Peapack for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities. Tammara teaches a transition class, which means she has the responsibility for instructing older students in life skills that will help them after they graduate. Four years ago, she started the Tea Time Cafe, a snack bar managed by Matheny students for Matheny employees. Now, in her transition class, she has her students count money from Tea Time sales, enter the results on a special math worksheet and make bank deposits. The students also work on clerical jobs for Matheny and fill packages for Operation Shoebox, an organization that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas.
Tammara appreciates Matheny's trans-disciplinary approach, "where therapists work in the classroom with teachers. We all work together. I feel very strongly about that -- it's such a collaborative effort." Her colleagues apparently feel the same way about Tammara, as they nominated her as Matheny's educator of the year for the 2012-2013 school year.