Cedar Creek High School teacher Christine Finn believes that knowledge is power.
And as a librarian, she also believes that life is too short to read bad books.
This combined philosophy, together with a passion for education, has earned Finn the respect of the teaching staff and the students and has resulted in her selection as Cedar Creek's Teacher of the Year for 2013-14.
"I'm afraid that my quotes will come off as cliche, but truth be told, I work with a very talented and generous staff and an incredibly supportive administration," Finn said. "I was surprised and humbled by the phone call from the superintendent to let me know that I had been selected."
Finn has been teaching for 20 years, and began her career as a history teacher. She has been with the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District for last 14 years, and transitioned to the library when Cedar Creek opened in 2010.
"Mrs. Finn has redefined what a media specialist does in this district," said Cedar Creek Principal James Reina. "She has educational contact with literally hundreds of students daily. Our library is used every day by teachers conducting cohort (two-class) lessons or utilizing the computers."
Finn does not merely observe these lessons, but prepares with the teachers and assists in the presentations and conducts research prior to the students' arrival and has books or websites waiting for them, Reina said.
"She has truly created a space within our building that serves as the 'educational center' and has the respect of every single staff member at CCHS," Reina noted.
Finn is a graduate of The College of New Jersey and received her M.A. in Library Science from Drexel University.
She is known as a whirlwind of energy who is involved in all things Cedar Creek, according to her fellow teachers.
Finn is the Media Club adviser, Senior Class adviser and Talent Show and Cabaret Night adviser. Over the years, she has helped organize fundraisers for the school's Volleyball Marathon, Stall Day and the class ring breakfast. She also organized the school prom and was behind the student "Donate/Get A Gown" Depot in the library.
"(Her) enthusiastic demeanor and can-do attitude are infectious to all those around her," commented Stacey Culleny, Supervisor of Art, Business, English, Library and Mathematics at Cedar Creek, in her nominating letter.
"Christine Finn is by all means a 'specialist,' however, not just in media and the library. She specializes in school commitment, dedication, motivation, compassion for students, pedagogical and technological advancements, and involvement," Culleny wrote.
English teacher Matthew Ballistreri also noted Finn's energy regarding students.
"Whether she is helping biology students research, or showing English students how to create movie trailers for their favorite books, Mrs. Finn is always on the lookout for the newest and most interesting ways to engage students," he said.
Finn said she can't imagine a more fulfilling way to fill her work day than by contributing to the creative environment at Cedar Creek.
"I really love what I do," she said.
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