Amy Anderson, an American Sign Language teacher at Ocean City High School, has been named a 2018 State Finalist for the prestigious New Jersey Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award.A program of the New Jersey Department of Education, the Teacher of the Year Award celebrates highly-effective educators and focuses public attention on excellence in teaching.Since joining the Ocean City High School faculty in 2004, Andersen has grown the American Sign Language (ASL) program from 42 students to 130 students. She offers classes in Advanced ASL 1, Advanced ASL 2 and independent study for those who wish to take a third year of ASL.“I am tremendously honored by this nomination,” Anderson said. “My goal is to pass on to my students the love and passion that I have discovered for American Sign Language and the Deaf Community. I know I have been successful when this spark catches and students find their future careers in ASL.”While earning a bachelor’s degree in flute performance, Anderson took an elective class in ASL and found her true calling. One semester of ASL study turned into four and in her senior year, she turned down an acceptance to Temple University’s flute master performance program to pursue her passion for ASL as a teacher for the deaf.After earning a graduate degree in deaf education at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, she completed an internship at The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, MA, where she continued to teach for three years before transferring to the Horace Mann School for the Deaf until 2004. She holds a national board certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist for the deaf and hard of hearing.“Amy values a quality education for all students, and she finds ways to engage students outside of her classroom walls through exciting ASL-related activities,” said Dr. Kathleen Taylor, Superintendent of the Ocean City School District. “She empowers her students to believe in their own ability to change the world. She is an inspiration to our community, making a real difference in the lives of students here in Ocean City.”The winner of the Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award will be selected during a State Board of Education meeting in October, and announced at that time.