Sussex County Native Receives Outstanding Middle Level Educator Award
Kristine Shurina was destined to be an educator.
Shurina remembers specific teachers, including Carol Kopay and Janice Shugart, her eighth grade language arts teacher at Milford Middle School in Milford, Del., that made her feel this way.
After focusing on her studies and excelling throughout high school, Shurina moved to New Jersey to further her education.
Shurina earned a master’s degree in teaching secondary English from Fairleigh Dickinson and another master’s degree from Seton Hall University in leadership, management and policy for education. In 2013 she earned her doctoral degree in literacy education at Rutgers University.
The Milford native is currently an 8th grade English teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Shurina also teaches middle grades literacy education courses as an adjunct at Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.
In addition to teaching, Shurina has served as a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project, where she worked with colleagues across New Jersey to design and facilitate professional development in the field of literacy education. Shurina was named 2015-2016 New Jersey Teacher of the Year for Somerset County.
Her latest accomplishment —- winning the 2016 Outstanding Middle Level Educator in the English Language Arts Award.
“My sister, Kathy Messano, submitted my name, my resume and letters of recommendation,” Shurina says. “When I received the award I was extremely surprised and so excited.”
The award recognizes exceptional English language arts teachers of grades 6 – 8 who have demonstrated excellence in teaching English language arts and inspired a spirit of inquiry and a love of learning in their students.
Messano, Shurina’s sister and colleague, says Shurina creates assignments for students that encourage them to think outside of the classroom. Messano says an example of this is in Shurina’s middle school class where her students enter contests, write for preschoolers and have their work displayed at the public library.
“The comfort level and enthusiasm in her classroom is high,” Messano says. “Dr. Shurina works diligently to create a classroom that meets the diverse interests and readiness levels of her students. Her room is brimming with students every day at lunch.”
According to Messano, Shurina frequents used book sales, orders books on eBay and splurges at local book stores to bring her students books that will keep them reading.
In addition, Messano says Shurina uses her own money from workshops to buy technology equipment for the students to use including a digital camera, an LCD projector and a mimeo board.
“The students feel appreciated which shows in their positive attitudes and the work they produce,” Messano says.
Dr. Kristine Shurina Gives NCTE Speech