Marjie Carnevale Caps off 41 Years of Teaching at Beach Haven School

May 02, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

In September 1976, Marjie Carnevale reported for her first day of work as a new teacher at the Beach Haven Elementary School. It turned out to be a job she would hold for 41 years, and at the end of June, Carnevale will be calling it a career.

“Right now, I teach the fourth, fifth and sixth grades,” she said recently. “I’ve taught every grade except second. It’s been great working here, but I think the time has come to call it a day and spend more time with my family and friends and hopefully do some traveling.”

Growing up in Somerville in Somerset County, Carnevale was interested in a teaching career because she “always liked working with children.”

“In high school and in college, I helped run summer recreation programs,” she said. “That made me realize that I should pursue teaching.”

When you’ve taught that long, you often find yourself teaching the children of former students.

“I also taught my own two children,” said Carnevale. “My son thought it was fun when he was really young, but when he was in the sixth grade, I don’t think he thought it was so cool.”

Beach Haven teachers and students were really put to the test in late October 2012 when the school sustained damage from Superstorm Sandy. More than 30 inches of water swamped the century-old building, resulting in nearly $2.5 million in repairs. As a result, Beach Haven students had to finish out the rest of the school year at Eagleswood Elementary School in Eagleswood Township.

“The first day there, I can understand why kids might have felt a little nervous, getting uprooted like that, but the West Creek school staff welcomed us with open arms and made us feel at home,” she said.

Carnevale said that while the advent of technology and computers has changed some approaches to education, much of what she has taught has stayed close to the same.

“I teach a lot of ancient history and American history, and the courses aren’t too much different (from) when I first started teaching” she said. “To me, what’s extremely important is teaching correct grammar, and those principles are still the same even when I was a student.”

Sandy Close, a former board of education member, said Carnevale “is a staple at the school.”

“She was my first-grade teacher,” said Close, who served on the board for 18 years. “She also taught my three siblings and my six children. She was a very nurturing teacher, and cared not only about her students, but their families, too. She will really be missed.”   

— Eric Englund

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