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Tom Innocente of Somers Point Receives ACCC Award for Teaching Excellence

June 8, 2006

Thomas J. “Sarge” Innocente Sr. of Somers Point, senior adjunct instructor in criminal justice at Atlantic Cape Community College, was awarded the college’s second Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award at the school’s 39th annual commencement ceremony in May.

The college created the award to honor an adjunct instructor “who cares deeply about students and demonstrates a passion for teaching and learning,” ACCC president Dr. Peter Mora said. “This year’s winner is someone who challenges students to think critically and engages them in lessons that stretch their minds.”

In nominating him for the award, student Sheena Cicala described Innocente as “the kind of person that will do anything for his students. He believes in the interactive approach and loves to get students involved in class discussions, school events and club activities. I’ve had many teachers over the years, but none has come close to Sarge and his teaching skills. When he discusses a topic, he relates them to real life events so we better understand the concept.”

Innocente, an ACCC adjunct for more than 20 years, has a storied background in civilian and military law enforcement. He was selected for the award from among five finalists.

Innocente’s multi-faceted career in police work includes 32 years in the New Jersey State Police beginning as a uniformed officer and retiring as director of the South Jersey Forensics Laboratory and a stint as a senior investigator with the state public defender’s office. He served five years as a Navy submariner during the Vietnam War and 28 years in the Army reserve, including active duty during the first Gulf War.

He has attended more than two dozen police and military schools and courses and was assistant training director at the Cape May County Police Academy.

He is a member of many civic and professional associations and has earned a number of honors, citations, and medals.

Innocente is one of ACCC’s own, having earned an associate of arts degree at the college. He also earned a bachelor of arts at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a master’s degree from Seton Hall University.