2019-20 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year
School/District: Haddonfield Memorial High School - Haddonfield School District
Grade Level: 9th-12th
Teaches: English Language Arts
Kimberly A. Dickstein teaches English Language Arts at Haddonfield Memorial High School and represents New Jersey as the 2019-2020 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. Dickstein’s love for learning begins with her teachers, students, colleagues, and community.
Dickstein, who was awarded the 2019-2020 Camden County Teacher of the Year, grew up in Camden County and attended Voorhees Township Public Schools and Eastern Camden County Regional School District. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from Rutgers College in 2008 and a master’s degree in English Secondary Education at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education in 2009. Dickstein has not only taught for 11 years for the Haddonfield School District, but also conducted her teaching internship there. During her tenure, Dickstein has continued her professional development in Shakespeare studies at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Oxford University, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Utah Shakespeare Festival.
In addition, Dickstein was recognized in June 2019 as a Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher for her work as an educator and advocate. Camden County previously awarded Dickstein with the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal 2019 for selflessly contributing her time and effort to better her community. Dickstein’s advocacy campaign with her students in 2018 to help a former child soldier from South Sudan achieve his educational goals received local and national attention. South Jersey Magazine had tapped Dickstein in November 2017 as a South Jersey SuperWoman, a local resident striving to make South Jersey a better place.
Dickstein takes great pride in her community. Dickstein has committed herself to creating awareness and improving the quality of life for hospitalized teens after the passing of her best friend in 2002, through the efforts of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation. Dickstein serves on the Community Advisory Board and advises the Youth Leadership Council. In 2017, the Victorious Foundation nominated Dickstein for the L’Oreal Woman of Worth Award program, which recognizes women making an extraordinary impact on their communities.
At Haddonfield Memorial High School, Dickstein advises extracurricular activities such as Model United Nations, Shakespeare Troupe, and Stand With Camden, which all encourage scholarship and service. Dickstein has participated in Model United Nations since 9th grade and volunteered for the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs while at Rutgers University. Last year, Dickstein’s student competed on the national stage at the English Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition. Finally, Stand With Camden goes far beyond the walls of the school by working with Urban Promise, Cathedral Kitchen, Book Smiles, Camden Rescue Mission, Camden Reads, and Camden Printworks. Students have embraced the spirit of volunteerism but also understand that social justice begins with listening to others and standing together.
Dickstein recently co-authored an article titled “Beyond the Book: Taking Global Action” with Dr. Crystal Chen Lee, teacher educator at North Carolina State University, and will be presenting their work on critical global literacies alongside Garang Buk Buk Piol, MDP/MPH 21, at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in November 2019. Dickstein, Lee and Buk firmly believe that social transformation can happen when students reflect on themselves in relation to their world (Freire). Dickstein has previously presented at the NCTE annual convention as a presenter with the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2016.
Dickstein believes that New Jersey can achieve equity in education only through compassion and action. Her platform as the 2019-2020 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year is to lift every voice, for every stakeholder, from every district, in every county. Anything is possible, and she believes in the enthusiasm and passion of her cohort, the 2019-2020 New Jersey County Teachers of the Year, to help her achieve this goal. Dickstein’s service as the Haddonfield Education Association PRIDE Chairperson taught her the importance of sharing the successes of New Jersey’s public schools while building community support and involvement. Dickstein understands that this award goes far beyond a title and appreciates the opportunity to serve and represent the 130,000 educators and 1.4 million students in the State of New Jersey.