“The kind of teacher who makes you want to explore”: Madame Pope awarded RV Teacher of the Year

The French teacher and club adviser is known for her passion for all things French and innovative ways of teaching


Photo courtesy of Mr. Maniglia

Madame Pope with Principal Martin, Superintendent Heilig and Mrs. Matozzo, RV’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Isaiah Dupree, Managing Editor

French teacher, French National Honor Society Advisor, French club advisor and 1:1 World Instruction Facilitator Kimberly Pope was recently named the NJDOE Governor’s Educator of the year for the 2022-23 school year. 

The Holly Spirit sat down with Madame Pope last week to speak with her about her journey to becoming a teacher and what has made her time at RV so special. 

Pope, an alum of Cherry Hill West High School, began teaching at RV in 2007. She says that she became inspired to teach French by her amazing French teachers at her alma maters, the University of Delaware and Middlebury College.

“I hated French when I was in high school. I took a lot of classes and I was bad at it… my teachers clearly hated teaching,” Pope said. “When I went to college I had to take a language, so I decided to take French again. I flew through the first level and my teacher was very clearly passionate about teaching. Same thing with the second level. At level 3 I intended to stop taking French, but my teacher encouraged me to continue and study abroad in France, and eventually I became a French education major… My French 1 2 and 3 teachers had a completely different outlook on teaching in comparison to my high school French teachers.”

Pope spent roughly a year abroad in Paris, taking classes at the Université De La Sorbonne Nouvelle, and fell in love with the French language and culture. One of her most memorable teaching experiences has been watching her students have that same experience years ago on a field trip to France.

“When I saw my students in a French market in Nice conversing with merchants, it was one of the coolest experiences of my teaching career,” said Pope about the trip. “Seeing them in real, authentic interactions with French speakers. It’s hard to see all of the progress while in a classroom, seeing it in person in France was really special.”

Over her 16-year teaching career, Pope has garnered the support of her students and colleagues. One of her supervisors described her as “a remarkable educator, mentor, child advocate and tech guru … [who] is on the forefront of modern and innovative ways to bring the world language department forward.”

Junior Katelyn Loven, who is in Pope’s French IV Honors class, said that “[Pope is] the kind of teacher that makes you want to explore different cultures and learn new languages, and if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have continued with French all this time. I love Madame Pope and she deserves this title more than anyone.”

Pope has become enamored with RV and its staff, students and events like RAWN, which she called “one of the most amazing things at RV.” Pope says that she loves this school and the people that she works with.

“I want [the RV community] to know that I love this school, and even after 16 years here I love what I do” Pope said. “I love this community, I love the students, the staff, I love everyone. I could not do what I do without my teams. If I did not have [Mme. Heiba, Mme. Michael and Mrs. Pliskin] guiding me, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do everyday.”