Early Thursday morning, the state Department of Education announced the finalists from each county for the teacher of the year award. 21 teachers have been picked and five are in South Jersey.

Gov. Murphy said about the finalists, “These 21 educators exemplify the outstanding level of talent and commitment that exists in New Jersey’s public schools. Their hard work and dedication is a critical part of making our state’s public education system one of the best in the country."

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The grand winner will be announced in October and will be chosen by a group of educators. The ceremony is held annually at the White House.

Here are the five teachers, in no order, from South Jersey who are up for the award...

  • 1

    Mark Deebold

    Atlantic County

    Mark is an English as a second language teacher at Atlantic City High School in the Atlantic City School District.

  • 2

    Jennifer Mazzochi

    Camden County

    Jennifer teaches 8th grade special education at Charles W. Lewis Middle School in Gloucester Township School District.

  • 3

    Carrie Merritt

    Cape May County

    Carrie Merritt is a 1st grade teacher at Ocean City Primary School in the Ocean City School District.

  • 4

    Melissa Antinoff

    Burlington County

    Melissa Antinoff teaches the 3rd grade at Ashbrook Elementary School in the Lumberton School District.

  • 5

    Vanessa Paccione

    Gloucester County

    Vanessa is an art teacher at General Charles G. Harker School in the Swedesboro-Woolwich School District.