Jane Moskevitz’s students say they were lucky to have “Ms. M” as a teacher and would not enjoy the careers and college opportunities they have today if not for her. For her unwavering commitment to her students in and outside of Whittier Tech, the 17-year Health Occupations teacher was named YMCA Educator of the Year at a celebration at DiBurros Tuesday night. She was one of 17 nominees from schools across Haverhill.
“It was an honor to be included with all of the great educators and people who are doing such great things,” she said. Along with her teaching responsibilities at Whittier, Ms. Moskevitz is a SkillsUSA coach who trains students to compete nationally in their trade areas, a mentor who guides new staff members, a co-op liaison who places students in co-op jobs during their junior and senior years, and a C.N.A. teacher in the night school program. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Opportunity Works where she assists clients as they transition into the work world.
“She’s still coaching me,” said Kimberly Malynn, who graduated from Whittier Tech in 2001. After working as an R.N. for many years, Ms. Malynn was hired in August as a Health Occupations teacher at Whittier and now works right beside her favorite teacher. “We’ve been in touch all of these years,” Ms. Malynn said. “She’s amazing. She works a lot of extra hours and reaches out to so many people in the community to make sure her students get the best professional experiences we can have.”
She remembered when she was afraid to take a co-op job during her senior year at Whittier and Ms. M encouraged her. “She told me it was the best way to get my education. I finally relented and went for the job and it definitely helped me get into nursing school and made the transition a lot easier.”
Lia Zaino, a 2014 graduate who is a junior majoring in nursing at Salem State University came home to be at the dinner to honor her former teacher. ”She’s been there for me for everything and it was my turn to give back to her,” she said. “She lets you know that you’re capable of doing whatever you want to do and she is also there to push you, not in a mean way, but she doesn’t baby you. She tells you what you need to hear.”
Melissa Cook, a 10-year special education teacher at Whittier, nominated Ms. Moskevitz for the award because of her unstoppable commitment to students. “She makes sure so many of our students succeed once they leave Whittier,” she said. “She comes up with creative job placements for kids who are not always ready to go directly into technical trade areas. She finds unique positions so they can be part of the trade they want to pursue.”
Ms. Moskevitz said it’s the vocational-technical setting that provides those opportunities. “If I didn’t teach in a vocational high school like Whittier these things would not happen,” she said. “The administration provides lots of support and resources and when it comes to kids here, no one says “no.” We’re doing everything we can to get all of these kids jobs, no matter what their abilities are. In health occ, not every kid that comes through is going to be a nurse or a person who works directly with patients, but we can find a spot for them so they can be near what they like. We’ll turn ourselves inside out so they can do that.”
She and her husband Paul, who teaches Machine Technology at Whittier, live in Georgetown.