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Staff Spotlight - Michael Dunkin

Michael DunkinEvery 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 highlight Michael Dunkin, a JROTC Military Science Teacher at Colts Neck High School. 


Mr. Dunkin, Master Chief Petty Officer, USN (Ret), is originally from Kalispell, Montana. In 1983, he joined the United States Navy, serving 24 years before retiring in 2007. Mr. Dunkin started teaching the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Program at Colts Neck High School in 2009. He briefly left Colts Neck to work with NJROTC units at other schools but returned to the Freehold Regional in 2019. He teaches Naval Science for 9th graders and physical education for the 9-12th grade students in the NJROTC program. 


Mr. Dunkin noted that the NJROTC program does not just teach in the classroom, but involves numerous extracurricular activities alongside classroom studies. He is an active coach of the Physical Fitness Team and the Orienteering Team. Orienteering teaches students how to use a map and compass to navigate through different types of terrain in the woods. It is a competitive sport that the group does on Sundays in the fall and into the winter. 


"I was pretty shocked when I found out I had won Educator of the Year," he noted, adding "I just believe in doing my personal best each and every day, giving it 100%."


His proudest accomplishment as a teacher is that the NJROTC program was ranked #1 of over 620 as the "Most Outstanding Unit in the Nation" this past year. 


"I love teaching the Navy JROTC because dealing with the younger generation keeps me feeling young. It is something different every day when interacting with them. There is no better feeling than when you get a young, new freshman and work with them for the next four years watching them grow and mature into a young man or woman. The best part about this job is when they come back after graduating and they thank you for all you taught them. There is no better feeling when you can make a positive impact on any student’s life," he described.


His advice for new teachers is to be patient with students. 


"Understand that students all come from different backgrounds and situations. A one-size-fits-all does not work. Get to [know] your students and find out what motivates each one individually. They are all different in different ways. Let them know that you truly care about their success."