For Immediate Release: May 28, 2014
AtlantiCare recognized Healthy Educator Award winners during a dinner in their honor Wednesday, May 14 at the Atlantic City Country Club.
AtlantiCare presented Healthy Educator awards to Elizabeth DiDonato, RN, of Estell Manor, school nurse, South Main Street School in Pleasantville; John Jones, of Egg Harbor Township, science teacher, Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township; and Linda Spengler, of Ocean City, Family and Consumer Science teacher, Ocean City Intermediate School in Ocean City. The award recognizes educators' outstanding efforts to promote wellness, healthy living, good nutrition, and the importance of physical activity with their students and colleagues.
Finalists recognized at the event included Christine Aretz, of Milmay; Bonnie Cappelluti, of Northfield; Bernadette Getzler, of Ventnor; Joy Hooper, of Port Republic; and Sue Staiano, of Petersburg.
Beth Derrickson, of Brigantine; Pam Hitchner, of Ocean View; Scott Newhall, of Absecon; Amy Rovani, of Milmay; Jennifer Pavlovitch, of Hammonton; and Tiffany Unsworth, of Absecon, were given honorable mention.
AtlantiCare awarded each awardee a cash prize and will make a donation in the same amount in each winner's name to his or her school's wellness programming.
About Healthy Educator Awards
The AtlantiCare Healthy Educator Award recognizes educators' outstanding efforts to promote wellness, healthy living, good nutrition, and the importance of physical activity with their students and colleagues. AtlantiCare selected winners based on nominations from their colleagues. Through its partnership with schools in Atlantic, Cape May and Southern Ocean counties, AtlantiCare's Healthy Schools, Healthy Children Program assists schools and districts with the implementation of fitness and nutrition policies and makes resources available to students, their families and school staff.
Elizabeth DiDonato, RN, of Estell Manor, school nurse, South Main Street School in Pleasantville, has been a nurse for 19 years. During her tenure at South Main Street School, she helped create Team LEAN (Let's Encourage Activity and Nutrition) in 2005, which challenges students and staff to live healthier lifestyles daily by engaging in an hour of physical activity; eating five servings of fruits and vegetables; and limiting TV and computer time to two hours. Working closely with AtlantiCare's Healthy Schools, Healthy Children program, DiDonato has assisted in the creation of South Main Street School's garden and helped found the school's Harvest Celebration. DiDonato has helped spearhead South Main's wellness activities, including an annual Walk-A-Thon for students, parents and staff, and started a "mileage club," which encourages students to engage in physical activity during their lunch break. Through the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, DiDonato has made available "Parents as Champions" workshops for South Main Street School parents, toprovide health education to parents and help expand students' healthy learning to their home environments.
John Jones, of Egg Harbor Township, has taught at Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township for 10 years. A science teacher, he has worked to incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) coursework into non-traditional settings such as the school's garden, and the Egg Harbor Township Historical Society's Community Teaching Garden. Jones serves at the project advisor for the Catawba Project, a program that connects public school children with Township leaders, environmentalists and community members and offers service-learning opportunities. He oversees the school's Garden Club, which helps students connect the health of the planet to their own health. An active member of AtlantiCare's Growing Green Initiative, Jones has assisted with gardening workshops and with providing educational information to other school gardens. Since 2007, Jones has helped secure more than $100,000 in grants on behalf of Alder Avenue Middle School. He was named the 2014 "Outstanding Environmental Educator" by The Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education and named the 2006 Egg Harbor Township District Teacher of the Year.
Linda Spengler, of Ocean City, Family and Consumer Science teacher, Ocean City Intermediate School in Ocean City, has worked in the Ocean City School district for more than 29 years. Spengler has organized school-wide participation for events such as National Walk to School Day, National Get-Up-and Move, and for contests including Vote for your Favorite Veggie, and AtlantiCare's Build a Better Pizza contest. In 2013, she helped implement Ocean City Intermediate's school garden, for which she has encouraged student participation in the cultivation, harvesting, and preparation of garden produce. A member of the school district's Wellness Committee, she has helped to incorporate physical activity into the school's curriculum and has worked with the food services director to bring healthier food choices into the cafeteria.
AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,221 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.
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