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Staff Spotlight - Melissa Kochinski

Melissa Kochinski and familyEvery year, teachers and educational professionals from each Freehold Regional High School District school are selected to be honored in the Monmouth County Governor's Educator of the Year Program. We are recognizing each of the 2023-2024 recipients in a Staff Spotlight series. This week, we are highlighting Melissa Kochinski, a school social worker at Manalapan High School.

Ms. Kochinski has been a member of the Child Study Team at Manalapan High School for the past 27 years. As a school social worker, she is a member of the 504 Committee and she serves as the School Based Liaison for McKinney Vento. Ms. Kochinski is also the Child Study Team Leader at the high school.  

"It was an honor to be recognized by my school community and colleagues. The recognition ceremony at the school, which included my family, was beyond touching and meaningful. The work we do day in and day out can be extremely rewarding, but it is also very challenging. I am passionate about my work and to be acknowledged in this way meant a lot to me," Ms. Kochinski said regarding the honor.  

One of the highlights of her career is watching her special education students grow and progress over their time at the school, Ms. Kochinski said.  

"To be a part of their transition from middle school to high school, and then help prepare them for the next step in their journey after high school is the best part of the job. One of the best parts about the profession is helping students develop their voice and advocacy skills so they can become strong, self-sufficient, confident, and successful young adults," she said.  

Her advice to someone just starting their career is to remember the reasons why they entered this field and to stay as grounded as possible. 

"[...] Rely on your fellow colleagues who have a wealth of knowledge so you can all make a difference in the lives of the students. Some days will be easier than others for sure, but the work is rewarding and meaningful so stay the course," Ms. Kochinski advised.