Position: Special Education Teacher
School: West Deptford High School
School District: West Deptford School District
City, State: West Deptford, New Jersey
About the Nominee: Julia Holloway was nominated by her principal, Kelly Saia. Mrs. Holloway has been an integral part of the school community during her tenure at West Deptford High School. She is not only an effective instructional teacher and leader, but a dedicated professional who strives to create and foster personal connections with students beyond the classroom setting.
Mrs. Holloway is a phenomenal teacher – one who works day in and day out to “perfect” her craft. She is innovative and creates multiple opportunities for students to collaborate, compare ideas, and discuss their thought processes. These are all important strategies when considering growth in a student’s intellectual and academic development.
For at least ten consecutive years, Mrs. Holloway has either taught an overload with 6 classes per day, or has co-taught with more than three different partners, mostly prepping for three-four different levels of courses across all grade levels, whose levels of learning are varied. Over the past several years, she has worked diligently in the inclusion classrooms, designing a number of project-based assessments and differentiated activities to emulate real-world scenarios and help students understand more clearly what is being taught.
Due to her diligence and high expectations, she has raised the bar of academic performance with all of her classes, particularly with her lowest level students. All students, from her lowest leveled learners to her highest, are walking away from Mrs. Holloway with a deeper understanding of math and basic skills necessary to survive in the real world. Through both formal and informal observations, it is evident that Mrs. Holloway spends a lot of time pulling together resources to create meaningful, purposeful learning for her classes.
In addition to her work within the classroom, Mrs. Holloway has served on a multitude of committees for her school. She has worked on the Understanding by Design curriculum high school and district teams, practicing the backward lesson plan design and differentiated instructional strategies so that she can turnkey this professional knowledge to her colleagues. Every staff member who has received training from Mrs. Holloway has commented on how helpful, approachable, and patient she is when she sharing information.
As the head of the Special Education Department, her own department members are grateful for her patience, guidance and support, as well as the one-on-one time she spends with them when they need it. For years, Mrs. Holloway has assisted with writing and re-writing the curriculum for all of the Special Education courses in order to incorporate 21st Century Learning Skills, as well as Career Ready Practices. She has also volunteered her time on the school’s Intervention & Referral Services team for the past five years. In fact, over the past two years, she has led the team in organizing their meetings and collecting paperwork. More importantly, she has helped several students find mentor teachers to facilitate stronger connections within the school community in the hopes of bridging gaps and preventing failing grades. Additionally, she has previously served as the Student Council Advisor, a Class Advisor and a chaperone on the senior class/band & choir trips. Currently, she is the president of the teacher’s union, as well. In essence, she has worn - and continues to wear - many hats and has been successful in each role she has performed.
Everyone who works alongside Mrs. Holloway will vouch for her desire to perfect her craft, to always learn more and to encourage others to do so. She takes the same “go-getter” attitude with her colleagues as she does with her students. For all of the aforementioned reasons and more, Mrs. Holloway is a LifeChanger in the West Deptford community!