WMC Honors Ms. Grasso!

Photo courtesy of Ms. Grasso!

Photo courtesy of Ms. Grasso!

Each year, West Morris Central High School honors two faculty members through the NJ District of Education’s Governor’s Educator of the Year Recognition Program. A panel of administrators, teachers, and parents vote to nominate the two winners: one teacher and one educational specialist. Last year’s winners, Mr. Cinotti and Mr. Cusack, voted alongside their peers to nominate Ms. Feltmann and Ms. Grasso for the award.

Ms. Grasso has been a guidance counselor here at Central for 7 years now, but her history with the school extends back further; she worked in the front office as a career aide during the late 1990s. As a fun fact, during this time she also helped start the WMC girls volleyball program with Coach Balella! While working in the front office she decided that she wanted to become a guidance counselor, and began the steps to do so. She went back to school, taught in middle school for a series of years, spent almost a decade at home with her children, and then ended up back at Central when Coach Balella encouraged her to apply for the open position here. She cites her career aide days as giving her “longevity here from back in the 90s,” and helping her connect with the community.

Speaking of community, Ms. Grasso is adamant that it’s one of the most important parts of West Morris Central. When asked about her favorite part of being a counselor here, she responded immediately that she works with an “amazing team” that helps and supports one another to create a “really wonderful family.” It’s evident that she loves the students and faculty here, and loves her job as a counselor, which she described as a truly dynamic job. Throughout the school year, she works with students when they’re having social issues, academic struggles, or just general stress, and helps to ease the transitory parts of the high school process.

As a freshman/junior counselor, this has two main parts. Firstly, the middle school to high school transition. Ms. Grasso is one of two advisors for REACH, where upperclassmen aid eighth graders through their move into freshman year, and she works with her counseling team to help said freshmen once they’re here. She says that it’s “really cool to see a student come in as a ninth grader and just watch them grow in every way and then walk out of the doors of WMC with confidence.” The second big part of Ms. Grasso’s year is helping the juniors begin the post-secondary process. This is something that she loves, she listens to podcasts and reads books on the topic all the time. Additionally, she helps put together Central’s Career Day where students can hear from real professionals in the field, which she describes as “such a great opportunity” and truly “near and dear to [her] heart.”

Aside from her role as a counselor, Ms. Grasso assists and advises extracurricular activities. As previously mentioned, she runs REACH with Ms. Hennessy, where students are able to take on leadership roles while helping out the soon-to-be underclassmen. Additionally, Ms. Grasso has previously coached lacrosse and will be assistant coach for the boys tennis team this upcoming spring season. Her commitment to the school community outside of her job as a counselor really goes to show how dedicated Ms. Grasso is to Central and its atmosphere.

The Educator of the Year awards were announced at a meeting that Ms. Grasso unfortunately couldn’t attend in person, but she remarked that even through Google Meet she felt “surprised and humbled.” Her humility and gratitude was present throughout our interview, she described it as “really special” to be honored among all of the “outstanding professionals and colleagues” she works with, and repeated that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her team and family.

Congratulations to Ms. Grasso for receiving this honor, and the school community gives her our thanks for her integral role in keeping the student body moving forward in a positive direction!