On February 27th, Rutgers Camden Teacher Prep Program students were treated to a riveting talk on the power of positive teaching by the 2016-2017 New Jersey Teacher of the Year: Argine Safari. Mrs. Safari is a music teacher at Pascack Valley High School where she has developed a nationally recognized vocal program. She established new vocal groups and inter-disciplinary district courses, including the AP Music Theory course, founded Tri-M Music Honor Society Chapters in both district schools, and artistically directed countless benefit concerts and events, helping raise money for several charities. Argine’s students consistently win competitions and are accepted to top universities, conservatories and honor ensembles around the country. In 2013, Argine co-founded a non-profit New Jersey Youth Theater Arts Company, Stage Scene and Song Performing Arts, and was instrumental in the success of the program.  Argine is the Director of Music and Organist at Christ Lutheran Church and also coaches young singers and pianists for their college and professional auditions. In addition, she is active as a clinician and chamber musician, having performed at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Zankel Hall, among others.

A Grammy-Award nominated music educator, Argine is the 2010 recipient of the Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Scholar Award, 2016-2017 Bergen County Teacher of the Year, and the 2017 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. In 2013, Mrs. Safari was named the WorldStrides Heritage Performance Director of the Year. In 2017, Argine was awarded the Evangelina Menendez, Woman of Distinction Trailblazer Award by Senator Bob Menendez. Argine is fluent in three languages and holds degrees in business and finance from Brooklyn College, in piano performance and music theory from Yerevan State Musical College in Armenia, in musicology and composition from Moscow State Conservatory in Russia, and in Education Supervision from Rutgers University.