Congratulations Ms. Rita Mishikitis - Teacher of the Year
Ms. Mishikitis graduated from Holy Family University (Pennsylvania) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduation she worked for 10 years as an Early Childhood Educator with the Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). While working at Fox Chase, Ms. Mishikitis went back to school to earn a Master Degree in Special Education from Arcadia University (Pennsylvania). Following her time at Fox Chase, Ms. Mishikitis joined the Hillsborough Public Schools. In her first year she split her time working as a special education teacher at Woodfern Elementary and Auten Road Elementary School. The next year, Ms. Mishikits worked solely at Auten Road, then, in its first year as an Intermediate School. For the last 15 years Ms. Mishikitis has continued to work as a special education math teacher in grade 5.
Along with her work during the school day, Ms. Mishikitis works as a tutor for the Hillsborough Extended School Year Program in the summer. Ms. Mishikitis also will often help out in providing home instruction to students and she serves as a mentor to new teachers.
When asked about what inspires her about her work as a teacher, Ms. Mishikitis indicated that it is the opportunity to connect with her students in a way that can help motivate them to do their best. Ms. Mishikits shares that when she was growing up she had some negative experiences in math. As a result of those experiences, Ms. Mishikitis believes she is able to relate to her students and to turn negative feelings about math into more positive ones. It is this dynamic in the classroom, and her unsung consistency, that many of her students find so beneficial to their growth and success.
Below is an excerpt from a nomination received from a colleague of Ms. Mishikitis:
“While there are many incredible teachers that I interact with daily, Rita is the one that stands out as an example of excellence. Rita is a teacher who quietly works hard every day and doesn’t look for recognition or praise. It seems as if her students’ success is her reward. Over the years we have shared many students and some of them have stated that they feel as if they are “strong” in math because Ms. Mishikitis believes in them.”