Each spring, STANJ has the privilege to select two outstanding individuals to receive the Distinguished Service to Theatre Education Award and Distinguished Theater Educator Award.

These awards are presented as part of the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education.  This event co-sponsored with the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts is held in Trenton.

Outstanding Teacher & Distinguished Service Awards
A STANJ member may make a self-nomination or nominate another worthy teacher.

-The nominee must be a member of STANJ
-The nomination must be filed by the last Saturday in January.

To nominate an deserving individual for the upcoming awards, please submit this application.

Past recipients:


Outstanding Theatre Educator


2017        Chuck Miller, Teacher of Theatre, Pinelands Regional High School

2016        Danielle Miller, Teacher of Theatre, Hoboken

2015        Maurice Moran, Professor of Theatre, Monmouth University, West Long Branch

2014        Ellen Barri Weinstein, Theatre Director and Teacher, Vernon Township High School

2012        Gina Priano-Keyser, Director of Theatre, Chatham Middle School

2011        Sandra VanDyke, Teacher of Theatre, West Orange High School

2010        Kimberly Jonny, Teacher of Theatre, Westfield High School

2008        Valerie Gargus, Teacher, Northern Burlington County Regional High School

2007        Patrice Thornton, Drama, Speech and English Teacher, Middletown High School North

2004        Sylvia Abdelsalam, Teacher of Theatre, Butler High School

2003        George Dearani, Teacher of Theatre, Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts, Patterson.

2000        George Dearani, Teacher of Theatre, Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts, Patterson.

1986        Sylvia Abdel, Teacher of Theatre, Butler High School (from Governor T. Kean, founder of the Governor’s Award)


Distinguished Service to Theatre Education


2017        Jim Jack, George Street Playhouse

2016        Carol Thompson, Rutgers University
2015        William August Hanisch, Retired Principal – Butler High School, Butler
2014        Jason Goldstein, Performing Arts Producer and Entertainment Entrepreneur
2013        Carmine Tambone, Executive Director, Educational Arts Team, Jersey City
2012        Rachel Evans, Theatre Education Coordinator, Kean University
2011        Cynthia Meryl, President/Artistic Director, New Jersey Youth Theatre, Westfield
2010        Lisa Cooney, Director of Education, Paper Milll Playhouse
2009        James DeVivo, Director of Education, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey
2008        Michael Mooney, Manager of Outreach and Access Programs, Paper Mill Playhouse
2007        Ruth Fost, Executive/Artistic Director, Pushcart Players, Verona