A local music teacher’s passion and commitment to his craft were rewarded by school district personnel and the Manchester Township Board of Education at their meeting on Wednesday evening at Ridgeway Elementary School, as Thomas Scharibone received the 2012 “Exemplary Elementary Educator” Award.
Scharibone, formerly a teacher at Manchester Township Elementary School, now works at Whiting School. When the district was forced to eliminate instruction for musical instruments during the school day due to budget cuts, Scharibone created a before-school program in order to provide Manchester children with an outlet for their abilities.
Before his acceptance of the award, Whiting School Principal Dr. Fran Scudese explained why she had personally recommended Scharibone be selected.
“Mr. (Superintendent David) Trethaway always sends us notice about things to apply for, as an administrator for some of our teachers. One of the ones that he had sent us was the New Jersey Exemplary Elementary Educator,” said Scudese.
Scudese explained that when it came to choosing a deserving candidate for nomination, Scharibone was the first person who came to mind. Letters of recommendation for him were provided by Trethaway, Manchester Township School District's Committee Chairman Kevin Berger and Curriculum Director Tom Baxter.
“It is the goal of this program to identify educators that are valued to their school and community,” said Scudese. “Tom is now at Whiting School, but I can’t say he’s just at Whiting School, he’s at all three elementary schools.”
Scudese cited a higher number of children taking band classes district-wide and stated that Scharibone’s “skills and inspiring presence provided a positive impact to students, colleagues and the school community.”
Scharibone accepted the award, and called it “truly an honor.” The instructor added that there were many people whose efforts led to his reception of the award that night.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a supportive administration and a supportive district to create a great teacher,” said Scharibone.
Scharibone said that Scudese saw something in him long ago that even he did not see in himself, and praised the principal for allowing him to use his creativity and skills in his teaching. He also had kind words for the superintendent.
“When this band program was going to die, I had a unique opportunity to actually meet my superintendent. A lot of teachers, they never really get to interact with them. But because of this situation, I actually got to meet Mr. Trethaway and see what he’s like as an individual. I truly appreciate this administration, and everyone I’ve been in contact with so far appreciates the arts,” said Scharibone.
Trethaway said that 100 students take part in the before-school band program at 7 a.m., and thanked Scharibone for taking the time and the initiative to make that possible.
“It’s a phenomenal thing, exposing so many of our students to the arts and music,” said the superintendent.