Congratulations to Middle School History Department Chair and Middle School Ethics Coordinator CherylAnne Amendola who was named the recipient of the 2022 Founders’ Cup for Teaching Excellence. The Founders’ Cup Award, established in 1993, recognizes MKA’s strong tradition of teaching excellence dating back to 1887. The award is presented to an outstanding faculty member representative of the best qualities of teaching at MKA, inside and outside of the classroom, including coaching and mentoring. The Alumni Association welcomes nominations for the Founders’ Cup Award from all members of the MKA family, including current students, parents, alumni, administration, and faculty.
CherylAnne has been teaching American and World History at MKA since 2006. She graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in political science, from Teachers College, Columbia University with an M.A. in social studies education, and from Pace University with an M.A. in American history. She was named 2017 New Jersey History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and was accepted as an Academy for Teachers fellow. Currently, she is on the board of the New Jersey Council of Social Studies and is serving as Co-Vice President of the New Jersey Council for History Education. CherylAnne also serves as a Master Teacher for the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and as an ambassador for the New York Historical Society's Women and the American Story Program. She published her first book in November 2019 titled On the Backs of the Enslaved.
After receiving the award from Alumni Council President Caitlin DiRuggiero ’06 at MKA’s end-of-school meeting, CherylAnne shared how humbled she felt. She said, “I’ve seen a lot of great people win the Founders’ Cup over the years and can’t believe that I get to be among them. [MKA is] my home and my family and a gift. I love our community so deeply, and I’m honored to teach our students every day. Thank you for the award and for work that I love.”
Students, parents, alumni, and colleagues sent in exuberant nominations for CherylAnne, praising her for the exemplary teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend that she is. Some of the accolades written about her include:
CherylAnne will do anything and everything for her students, but more importantly she makes every second in her classroom as fun and joyful as learning can possibly be. In the middle of all that fun, she creates a safe place for students to be vulnerable, as she challenges them to engage with the most difficult and uncomfortable aspects of history and to understand how directly connected everything from the past is to what is happening in students' lives today.
CherylAnne has been trusted to serve as 8th Grade Dean, Middle School History Department Chair, Middle School Ethics Coordinator, and lead the Middle School Student Government. To be clear, she has served in most of those roles simultaneously, while also teaching multiple grades!
During the pandemic, when she couldn't connect with students to deliver creative and fun programming on campus, CherylAnne began hosting cooking shows from her own kitchen, researching recipes to learn about their unique role in historical and cultural contexts, practicing to make sure they would actually work, and then going live with a dynamic performance filled with historical facts and baking action! Of course she would live field questions, while teaching and baking, to confirm and clarify her audience's understanding!
I can see that my daughter works incredibly hard in Ms. Ammendola’s class. It is not just working hard to work hard, but it is on topics and subject matters that motivate her and other kids to be engaged and curious. History is her favorite class this year and was not her favorite class in the past. Ms. Ammendola challenges students to dive deeper than just the surface. Kids have fun in her classroom and what my daughter is learning in the classroom influences how she is seeing her surroundings.
We are so proud of CherylAnne for her well-deserved recognition!