A teacher at Stafford Township Intermediate School has been named the New Jersey VFW's Middle School Teacher of the Year 2024.

Ten-Year Army Vet Wins Honor From State VFW

Mary Ruiz, a Stafford Township Intermediate School basic skills reading teacher was chosen for the honor because of her contributions to her students and the veteran community, according to a press release.

Ruiz was nominated by her local VFW Post 12173. She served ten years in the Army and did two combat tours as a staff sergeant.

The New Jersey VFW says Ruiz earned the award for her work at a school Veterans Day event honoring vets for their service and for holding a snack drive with her students to donate food to homeless veterans

Stafford Township Teacher Has a Full Life

It sounds like Mary Ruiz is one busy lady.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she and her Army vet husband Vince are active members at the Toms River post of the VFW and work conducting mental health wellness programs for vets transitioning to civilian life.

Ruiz founded a vets-related group called Inglorious Ruckers who support veterans projects and retreats for vets.

She also coaches the Stafford Iguna and Fitness Club and enjoys running and CrossFit in her spare time. I can't imagine that she has much spare time.

Mary Ruiz is also a new mom, giving birth to a baby named Vincent in March.

Mary Ruiz is a Stockton Graduate

Mary Ruiz, who received her master's degree in education from Stockton University, was the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year winner for the Stafford Township School District.

While Mary appreciates being named the New Jersey VFW Middle School Teacher of the Year, she says her work is a greater reward.

"I am truly humbled and grateful for this recognition. It is gratifying to know that my dedication to connecting our youth with military members and Veterans is seen as important and noteworthy. More gratifying are the rewards I receive in witnessing connections and friendships being formed through these efforts."


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