West Orange educators head off to teach in the Canary Islands

Photo Courtesy of WOSD
Pictured are Erik and Jennifer Studnicky with daughters, Anna and Mila.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Married West Orange teachers Jennifer and Erik Studnicky are embarking on the dream of a lifetime as they depart in July for a one-year teaching opportunity at the American School of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. 

Jennifer Studnicky has worked in the West Orange School District for 19 years and currently teaches English language arts at West Orange High School. Erik Studnicky has worked in the district for 23 years and teaches eighth-grade social studies at Liberty Middle School. 

“It has always been a dream of ours to work abroad, so when the opportunity arose, we were thrilled to accept,” Jennifer Studnicky said. 

With the support of Superintendent Scott Cascone, Executive Director of Personnel and Special Projects Joseph Vespignani, English language arts supervisor Elizabeth Veneziano, social studies supervisor Michael Figueiredo, WOHS Principal Hayden Moore and LMS Principal Robert Klemt, the couple were able to pursue the venture. 

“Having this unique experience will allow both Erik and I to grow and develop as educators in order to bring back this knowledge to the students of West Orange upon our return,” Jennifer Studnicky said. 

While living and teaching abroad, the couple will be examining new methodologies and practices at the American School of Las Palmas to implement those skills and knowledge in West Orange. 

“Since we are teaching at an American school, the curriculum and content align to ours here; however, they also infuse many of the International Baccalaureate approaches, one of the main educational programs implemented in Europe,” Jennifer Studnicky explained. 

The focus of the IB framework is to “encourage both personal development and academic achievement, challenging students to think critically, to ask the right questions and think across disciplines,” she added. 

“We want to bring this mindset home to continue to prepare our students to become global citizens,” Jennifer Studnicky said. “While we will miss West Orange, we look forward to immersing ourselves in a new culture. For our 8-year-old daughters, this experience will be one which will nourish their intelligence, foster their worldly curiosity, and provide them with an understanding and appreciation for other cultures.”