West Orange schools honored at NJDCIA awards ceremony

Photo Courtesy of WOSD
Montclair State University intern Alexa Tammone and West Orange High School vocal teacher John Hellyer are recognized at the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Awards ceremony.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Alexa Tammone, recent graduate of Montclair State University who interned with the West Orange School District this past school year, and West Orange High School vocal teacher John Hellyer were recognized by the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Awards during an online ceremony on June 9. The awards are sponsored by the N.J. Department of Education.

Selected interns and cooperating teachers, including Tammone and Hellyer, were honored, and Tammone was named as one of 15 interns statewide selected by the state after reviewing all dossiers that received an “Extra Distinction” honor. As the only clinical intern for music to have been awarded “Extra Distinction,” Tammone was the Top Music Student Teacher in New Jersey for the 2021-22 academic year.

“Working with Ms. Tammone was truly wonderful,” Hellyer said. “This is my fourth year as a cooperating teacher (with the internship program) and the second year in a row that one of my interns has been chosen to receive this award. All of them are now gainfully employed as music teachers. Ms. Tammone brought with her an expansive knowledge of choral techniques as she was also the manager of choirs at Montclair State University as part of her master’s degree (requirements). That experience provided her with managerial skills that informed her approach to classroom instruction. Ms. Tammone not only possesses a great talent for teaching, but she has the kindness and patience that were especially needed this year as we dealt with the ups and downs of school in a pandemic.”

Tammone graduated from Montclair State University in May with a Master of Arts in teaching music and students with disabilities.

“Student teaching within the West Orange vocal music department at both Edison Central Six and WOHS has provided me with the most impactful and incredible experience,” Tammone said. “From my very first day, I was embraced by this community and was given endless support and guidance to grow as a music educator.

“I am truly honored to have been able to represent both Montclair State University and West Orange public schools through my selection as a N.J. Distinguished Clinical Intern this year,” Tammone continued. “I can’t thank John Hellyer enough for mentoring me and inspiring me with his expertise, electric charisma and passion for music education. I am also immensely grateful to Edison Middle School vocal music teacher Bonnie Pomeroy for her remarkable mentorship in my first semester of student teaching here.”

In a turn of events, the vocal music teacher position at Liberty Middle School recently opened up and Tammone was hired to begin work in September.

“As soon as I found out that Liberty Middle School was in search of a new vocal music teacher, I knew that I needed to apply and continue my involvement here,” Tammone said. “I look forward to taking all I’ve learned through my work in this amazing community and in the Montclair State choral program into my music classroom at Liberty Middle School in September.”

“I’m so thrilled that she will be in my former teaching position at Liberty,” Hellyer said, “and I know she will be an incredible asset to the school and the district choral program.”