IRVINGTON, NJ — Myles Hart, an Irvington High School history teacher who also coaches bowling, girls volleyball and baseball, is a recipient of the Teachers Who Rock Award, which is presented by the New Jersey Education Association and Beasley Media Group.
Hart is the head varsity coach of the boys and girls bowling teams this winter. He is the girls freshman volleyball coach in the fall and will be an assistant baseball coach for the first time this spring.
It marked the third straight year that an IHS teacher-coach has received this award. Jenna Weiss, the IHS head softball coach, won the award in 2018 and Elias Brantley, the IHS head boys basketball and boys volleyball coach, won it in 2019.
IHS athletic director Dr. John Taylor nominated each of the coaches for the award.
In an email to The Irvington Herald, Hart felt honored for receiving the award.
“I am flattered by the award, but most importantly, I am encouraged by my bowlers and their progress this season,” Hart wrote. “They have made my season and we aren’t even complete.”
In his nomination, Taylor cited Hart’s classroom work with students with a variety of classifications, including autism and other disorders. Hart was named an Irvington Public Schools Distinguished Teacher for the past four years. Hart received the 2018 Academic Coach of the Year award from the Irvington athletic department for having the highest team grade-point average among the 22 athletic programs at IHS.
Due to Hart’s efforts, the 2019-20 season is the first season that IHS has fielded separate boys and girls bowling teams.
This past fall, IHS wanted to create a girls freshman volleyball team. Without such a team, several freshmen wouldn’t have been able to participate due to the high number of players who signed up for the program. As a result, Hart volunteered to become the IHS freshman girls volleyball coach.
“He didn’t just simply collect a paycheck,” wrote Taylor in his nomination form. “Mr. Hart reached out to a number of different coaches in the county to seek their advice for best coaching methods, and now attends an adult volleyball league to participate in competitive play and learn strategies from those who have been playing for a long time. Mr. Hart does all of this to become a better coach, and to help the volleyball team more successful on the court.
“Due to his efforts to improve the lives of IHS students, Mr. Hart is certainly a teacher who rocks,” Taylor concluded.
The IHS bowling teams have made great strides this season.
“The Irvington High School bowling team has come together this year,” Hart wrote in an email to The Irvington Herald. “This is the first year we have a boys and girls team.”
Th boys have improved dramatically. The starters are juniors Ziquan Brown, Ibukun Arotiba and Oladimeji Adebowale and freshman Jaden Boyd.
“I had three freshmen begin with me three years ago and they have remained on the team,” Hart wrote. “This is their junior year. The varsity boys bowling team has seen their individual averages jump over 30 pins since they were freshmen. The juniors on the team have all bowled 200 games and have learned how to control their hook/ball. The first year I had the three juniors, we won zero points. The second season we won about 11 points. This year we have a winning record and currently have a record of 60-45. The varsity boys took two points — or a game — against first-place Nutley earlier this season.
“I was beyond proud of my three juniors. I have been lucky to have a freshman join our team who has pedigree in bowling. He came to our team with a 10-pound ball and threw a straight ball. I was able to secure nine donated bowling balls for my varsity boys and the freshman bowled his first 500 series and 200 game.
“To say the least, the donated equipment has helped my team tremendously. Each varsity bowler, by the time they leave Irvington High School, will have a ball of their own, which will be my way of saying thank you. The donated bowls will stay with the program to help new bowlers learn the wonderful sport of bowling. I am just thankful I have a great group of students who have invested in me, the Irvington bowling program and the idea of competing. I always say to my bowlers, you invest in me, I will invest in you. All my varsity boy bowlers received varsity jackets from me due to their commitment to the game and practice.
“The girls varsity is in fourth place with a record of 56-42. The girls team is currently competing and enjoying themselves in the process. Starters include Anna Manu, Miriam Simbaina, Rebeca Nunez, Anna Boayke and Yatobou Njie.”