Peggy ‘rocks’

Peggy Zappulla helps a non-verbal student make choices.

Matheny teacher Margaret “Peggy” Zappulla has been chosen as one of the “Teachers Who Rock” by New Jersey radio stations WDHA 105.5FM and WMTR 1250AM. Zappulla’s nomination was announced by both stations on the morning of January 31, and she will be honored at an awards banquet in April.

Zappulla, “is not your typical teacher,” says Sean Murphy, principal of the Matheny School. “She is always aspiring to reach new heights, and some of her biggest contributions have been on our technology committee where she successfully rolled out initiatives to have assistive switches distributed to every student in the school.”

Another contribution: getting her students to grow a vegetable garden. It started with corn last year and will expand to several other vegetables this coming spring. Last year, the class planted corn seeds outside, made a compost pile and watered the seeds. “You should have seen the look on their faces when the corn had grown about three inches long,” says Zappulla. “Wow.”

Working with students with special needs “is a fulfilling experience,” she adds. “If you have a goal in life, nothing should stop you from achieving it. I have a responsibility to give my students with the encouragement, tools and support to help them reach their goals.”