Jessica Munoz Memorial Award
Jessica Munoz graduated in 2016 from the Dual Degree Dual Teacher Certification Program with her Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Inclusive Education from Montclair State University. During the course of her five year journey, her passion for education took her beyond the expectations of traditional coursework. In the first few years of the program, Jessica found herself in a small and special group within the larger cohort of students.
This group journeyed well beyond the classroom to accomplish great things together. After only one year working and learning together, the group traveled to, researched, and presented at the Society for Disability Studies Conference. As they began student teaching, the same group of women joined the 1st cohort of the Newark Teacher Project at Montclair State. When they left the university classroom and became teachers, they continued to support one another in a monthly discussion group. This allowed all of them, especially Jessica, to work each and every day to impact the lives of children in powerful and long lasting ways. The dedication and perseverance they demonstrated, helping each other achieve their goals and grow as educators and as human beings, will forever showcase the power of friendship and love.
Jessica began her career as a student teacher at Abington Avenue Elementary School in Newark, NJ. The following year she accepted a job at Rafael Hernandez in the same district, teaching students with special needs. Most recently, she worked at Grace Wilday Junior High School in Roselle. At each school, the staff and students who had the privilege of working with her describe her as a passionate, caring, patient and resilient teacher.
The Jessica Munoz Memorial Award will be presented annually with preference given to a Dual Degree Dual Certification Master’s Program student who exhibits a passion for inclusive education. More specifically, and very much like Jessica herself, the award is intended for someone who has an incredible amount of potential to change the world.