"It's such an honor and I grew up in Hudson County, so I'm proud to represent," said Doyle-Gambuzza. The happy news was given to her by West New York Superintendent Anthony Yankovich and was soon followed up by a letter of congratulations from the Hudson County superintendent.
"It's very exciting and I am honor because I work with such great and dedicated teachers," she said.
Doyle-Gambuzza and her fellow educators were celebrated at the county luncheon on May 5.
Best of the lot
So how does one become the county's teacher of the year?
For Doyle-Gambuzza, it's been a series of humbling and unexpected surprises.
After being selected in March as Memorial High School's Teacher of the Year, where she teaches business education and computers, Doyle-Gambuzza was honored again as all of West New York's Teacher of the Year, and chosen to represent the district.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this," said Doyle-Gambuzza. "I was very excited just to find out that I was Memorial and West New York's Teacher of the Year. I never thought I would get as far as I did."
Doyle-Gambuzza had to complete a thorough application process to eligible for not only county recognition, but now possibly state/national recognition.
"It was an extensive application process; they asked about my teaching philosophy, education issues, and each response had to be about two pages each," she said.
Doyle-Gambuzza has spent 25 years of her teaching career as the business education teacher for Memorial High School. She prepares her students for the business world, and teaches them the basics of computer applications and internet use/safety.
"Technology is ever changing, so every year is a new experience for me as well as for the students," said Doyle-Gambuzza. "When I first came, we were still teaching typing on typewriters."
Although very much raised a West New York girl, Doyle-Gambuzza did not attend Memorial High School, but its neighbor St. Joseph of the Palisades High School.
However, due to her very tight friendships at the school, Doyle-Gambuzza always felt like part of the Memorial family.
"I had a lot of friends at Memorial, and I continued to live in West New York for 28 years," said Doyle-Gambuzza.
After graduating from Montclair with a degree in Business Education, Doyle-Gambuzza decided to try her hand out at teaching at Emerson High School in Union City.
However, Doyle-Gambuzza still had her ambitions of dominating the corporate world, especially across the river in the reigning metropolis of New York City, so after a year she turned in her lesson plans for a shot at big business.
"I got a job in the corporate world at American Express, but after a year I knew it wasn't for me," said Doyle-Gambuzza. "I missed the students, I missed teaching and I knew that this was my passion."
Classroom over business
Coming to her newfound realization, Doyle-Gambuzza started looking for ways to get back in the classroom, and finally came upon an ad for her alma mater by association, Memorial High School.
"I love being in the classroom and really enjoy the relationship that you have with the students," said Doyle-Gambuzza. "Even today, people ask me, after 25 years aren't you tired? But the students are what motivates me. When you know you are making an impact on a person's life or they come back to thank you, it's very rewarding."
Many of Doyle-Gambuzza's students over the past years have come back to visit and chat about the direction their lives have taken.
"Some even come in as parents night now," said Doyle-Gambuzza.
Now with her latest recognition, students past and present, and even those she has never had a in a classroom, have been taking their time out to pass by and say congratulations.
"I am very happy for her; she's a wonderful person, very inspiring and she just has a heart for teaching," said Melissa Pacheco, 18, a senior.
The West New York Board of Education has also been showing their immense gratitude and appreciation.
During the awards reception for the district, the Board of Education members gave beautiful golden apples to all of their teachers of the year in the district.
Yet, the only thing she may ask for is a parking spot.
Doyle-Gambuzza can now go on to represent the county at the state level, which will have a decision by next fall, and from there, National Teacher of the Year may not be that far off.