NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Theresa Maughan has been an educator for four decades; the New Jersey teacher was honored in Washington, D.C. by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden as the state’s Teacher of the Year.

“It’s almost like a culmination of an experience that has meant so much to me,” she said.

It’s not the first time Maughan has been recognized for her work. She was named Essex County Teacher of the Year in 2021 for her work teaching social studies at East Orange Stem Academy.

She said help from her own teacher helped set her on her path.

“I’m an immigrant to the United States,” she explained. “My family had to fight to stay here [and] fight against deportation through the help of a teacher. That inspired me to become a teacher.”

PIX11 News’ Marysol Castro has more in the video above.