County Teacher of the Year


After graduating summa cum laude from Montclair State University with a degree in human ecology and a concentration in early childhood education, Amanda Rhodes has been teaching fifth grade at School 11 in Clifton for the past seven years. Amanda is a true leader in and out of the classroom, serving on various curriculum development committees and mentoring new teachers. For the past four years, she has held the role of Universal Team Coach for the school’s Positive Behavior, Interventions, and Supports program. Amanda played a crucial role in creating the framework that defines the school’s four expectations of being RARE (Respectful, Attentive, Responsible, and Enthusiastic) that students and staff embody. Additionally, Amanda coaches the school’s Positive Behavior Support in Schools Team to create a positive, predictable, equitable, and safe learning environment that supports student and teacher success. She understands the importance of fostering a classroom community where her students are celebrated, loved, and respected. Amanda believes that students who enjoy learning are successful, and she strives to provide her students with meaningful, engaging, and fun experiences every day.

“My message to my fellow educators and the general public is that teaching is not just a job; it is a beautiful opportunity. Each day, I have the privilege of entering my classroom and making a difference in the lives of children. I have the chance to not only help my students learn but to also help them make decisions about who and what they are and what they want to be”.

— Amanda Rhodes