Mr. Thomas Callahan wins the NJDOE Educational Services Professional of the Year Award

School recognizes his dedication to helping shape his students and players into the best version of themselves


Photo courtesy of Mr. Maniglia

Mr. Callahan receiving the news he was just awarded the ESP of the Year last December

Mya Collins, News Editor

Mr. Thomas Callahan III was selected as the New Jersey Department of Education Educational Services Professional of the 2022-23 year for his notable work as a counselor within RV’s Personalized Readiness and Education Program (PREP) as well as a Student Assistance Coordinator.

As a 2008 RV alumnus, Callahan began working at RV and has been involved in various extracurricular activities in addition to his job as a counselor including Varsity Boys’ Wrestling Coach, Co-Advisor, Varsity Club and Spring Strength Coach. Throughout all of his endeavors, Callahan strives to lead by example and support his students and players.

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘Be the adult that you needed as a child,’ and I had a very positive experience as a student and an athlete, so I hope to give a similar experience to the students that walk the halls now,” Callahan said. “School can sometimes be a really rough place for kids, and I enjoy the challenge of making it a positive experience because school can be a student’s favorite place to be.”

As a counselor working at his old high school, Callahan draws from influential teachers in his life to become a role model for his students now. 

“My high school wrestling coach Mr. Bryan Bowker as a staff member and coach was influential in guiding me toward education to give back,” Callahan said. “Mr. Frank Casano, Mr. John Ferno, Ms. Charlotte Chait; there are just a lot of really great teachers that I was fortunate enough to come across during my four years in high school.” 

Callahan’s contributions to the RV community do not go unnoticed as he continues to inspire his students and players to be the best versions of themselves. 

“In almost 30 years of education, I’m not easily impressed however Mr. Callahan’s intensity, motivation and dedication are truly impressive,” Director of RV PREP Mrs. Meekins-Montgomery said in a board meeting. “He is a student-first professional, and students know that when they reach out to him, they are going to get the absolute truth wrapped up in a fashion that resonates with them.”

As an RV alumnus, Callahan learns from his mentors in high school to use similar aspects from them to cultivate the same positive environment for his students now. 

“[My mentors] were each so different, so I take bits and pieces from all of them,” Callahan said. “At their core, they were all very supportive but also challenged you because they wanted you to do better…They really tried to get to know you as people, and they did a great job at that, which is why knowing a student’s name is huge for me…I think feeling acknowledged and seen is really important.” 

All 2,100 students at RV are not exposed to RV PREP and the incredible staff that plays integral roles in developing the culture of RV and ensuring the success of students, which is why recognizing Callahan and the remarkable work holds such importance. 

“I’m trying to continue to build positive rapport with my students and staff, and I’m constantly trying to improve as a counselor and a coach,” Callahan said. “I come to work every day and I love what I do because I love my school and my community.”