National Liberty Museum Presents 17th Annual Teacher as Hero Awards, Sponsored by NJM Insurance Group

April 6, 2024

Nine educators from Pennsylvania and New Jersey were honored for inspiring students in the classroom — and on the road

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The National Liberty Museum (NLM) and NJM Insurance Group (NJM) announced the nine winners of their 17th annual Teacher as Hero Awards program, sponsored by NJM Insurance. The outstanding educators were honored at an award ceremony on Saturday, April 6 in NLM’s Liberty Hall.

The Teacher as Hero Awards recognizes outstanding educators who represent the best examples of the teaching profession and serve as role models to their colleagues and students in two categories: Exceptional Teachers and Teen Driver Safety Educators. Their achievements and inspiring stories will be shared with the tens of thousands of visitors who come to the Museum from across the region and from all over the world through digital signage at the museum.

“In partnership with NJM Insurance Group, the National Liberty Museum is pleased to recognize this year’s Teacher as Hero recipients,” said Alaine Arnott, National Liberty Museum president and CEO. “The teachers whom we honor through this program are everyday heroes who go above and beyond to motivate, inspire, and cheer on their students. We are so happy to see the awards expand into the teen driver safety educator category this year and to be able to honor even more teachers who are making an impact in and out of the classroom.”

The honorees were chosen from over 20 nominations spanning Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Fellow educators, school administrators, students, family, friends, and community members nominated the teachers and shared stories of how each educator has had a positive impact on their community.

“We are thrilled to recognize these impactful educators with the Teacher as Hero Awards,” said Cam Maio, NJM marketing vice president. “Education and teen driver safety are important topics for NJM. We extend a special thanks to the winners and all the nominees.”

To learn more about the award categories and the honorees, please see below. You can also hear from the honorees here.

Award Categories & Recipients

  • Category #1: The Exceptional Teacher Award is presented to outstanding educators who leverage their excellence in teaching to make a difference in the lives of their students. These teachers are recognized for fostering an appreciation for diversity in the classroom, teaching students how to resolve conflicts responsibly, giving students a deeper understanding of the relationships between rights and responsibilities, and honoring student voices in the classroom and public spaces.

    • Megan Boyle – Math Teacher at Mastery Charter School, Smedley Elementary (PA)
      Megan has been an educator for over 17 years, 13 of which have been spent at Mastery Charter School, Smedley Elementary. Every day, Megan works to improve her students’ knowledge of math while helping them navigate personal traumas, teaching them how to resolve conflicts respectfully, and ensuring that they have every resource available to them in order to succeed.

    • Rob Williams – Career and Technical Education Electrical Teacher, Mastbaum High School (PA)
      Rob has not only served as the Career and Technical Education Electrical Teacher at Mastbaum High School for the past seven years, but he also serves as Athletic Director and Basketball Coach. As the Career and Technical Education Electrical Teacher, Rob has achieved 100 percent success in his students obtaining industry certifications, and helps connect them to high-end employment after high school. Rob goes above and beyond to ensure his current and past students have a mentor in him for life.

    • Kristen DeGregorio – Life Support Teacher, Frankford High School (PA)
      Kristen has taught at Frankford High School for over 15 years. During her tenure, she has led her students in starting and running the student-run Love Café, which serves staff and faculty members each day while teaching students tangible skills. She has also played a large role in her students’ lives, from getting them physically active in the Frankford Student Run Philly Style Chapter to assisting them with working papers, helping them register for the draft, and working through benefits. Her communication, enthusiasm and positive spirit have allowed many students leave Frankford with a successful outlook and plan for their future.

    • Sarah Damato – Life Skills Teacher, Springfield High School (PA)
      As the Life Skills Teacher at Springfield High School, Sarah works with students grades 9–12 with severe disabilities. Sarah works to expand her students’ lives beyond the classroom through her leadership in the school’s Buddies Club and her coaching of the Special Olympics Unified Bocce Team. Through these programs, the teacher’s assistant program she offers, and her example, Sarah works every day to bridge the gap between students with special needs and the world.

    • Todd Corabi – Athletic Director, The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush (PA)
      As Athletic Director, Todd has cemented strong, trustworthy relationships with his students. Whether they are learning about serious topics like mental health or playing critical thinking games, Todd is always considerate of his students’ feelings, thoughts and opinions, and continuously looks for ways to help students grow and apply their knowledge and skills to build their futures.

    • David Payne – Special Education Teacher, Haddonfield Memorial High School (NJ)
      David has been a Special Education teacher in South Jersey for almost 40 years. For the past 20, he has been co-teaching history in inclusive classrooms at Haddonfield Memorial High School. David creates an inclusive environment where all students are given an equal opportunity to thrive and goes the extra mile to make his students feel included, confident, and able to achieve success, no matter their obstacles.

  • Category #2: The Teen Driver Safety Educator Award is presented to teachers who are committed to helping teen drivers understand that driving is a responsibility as well as a privilege by running after-school programs or taking extra time to provide support to teen drivers.

    • Peter Capone – Nottingham High School (NJ)
      Peter has been the driver’s education teacher at Nottingham High School for 20 years, and created and refined the school’s driver education program to the highest level of excellence. He has coordinated many safe driving learning opportunities for students outside of his classroom and, as a result of his efforts, many organizations have acknowledged the success of the Comprehensive Driver Safety Program at Nottingham with grants, prizes and scholarships.

    • Samantha Rodolico – Burlington City High School (NJ)
      Samantha exemplifies commitment and dedication as a Teen Driver Safety educator. She has made significant contributions to promoting safe driving practices among young individuals and has been effective in advocating for and implementing crucial changes in teen driving safety initiatives, such as reducing the speed limit from 40 mph to 25 mph in front of Burlington City High School.

    • Jill Fackelman – Indian Hills High School (NJ)
      Jill has been a driver, health and physical education teacher at IHHS since 2011. Her passion for teen driver safety can be seen in the classroom through her engaging and developmentally appropriate lessons, and outside of the classroom through her participation in the NJ Alliance of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD) Driver Education Committee, and the design and implementation of the NJ Driver Education Teacher’s Website. Jill is also currently working with NJ Senator Shepisi on the Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law.

About the National Liberty Museum

Located in Old City Philadelphia, the cradle of American democracy, NLM creates space for nuanced interactions around liberty, helping visitors to build key civic knowledge and skills through meaningful conversations and exploration. For more than two decades, the National Liberty Museum has navigated the most pressing issues of our time, connecting, educating, and inspiring people to explore and advance the complex practice of liberty.

About NJM Insurance Group

Founded in 1913, NJM is among the Mid-Atlantic’s region leading property and casualty insurers and has maintained AM Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A or higher for over 70 years. The Company operates in a mutual fashion for the exclusive benefit of its policyholders and is consistently recognized for its award-winning customer service, superior claims handling procedures, and overall customer satisfaction. NJM’s personal insurance products are available direct to consumers in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The Company also works with a preferred network of independent agents to deliver business insurance in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Visit to learn more.