‘I wanted to be able to teach everyone’

Deena Mahmoud joins the Pascack Valley teaching staff as the new Special Education English Teacher


Irene Antonopoulos

Deena Mahmoud has joined the Pascack Valley staff as a Special Education English Teacher for the 2021-22 school year. Mahmoud felt it was “important” for every student to be offered the same opportunities for education which is why she has decided to teach special education at PV.

Abby Shapiro, Editor in Chief

Coming from a family of teachers, Deena Mahmoud felt “inspired to help people grow.”

“I saw the importance of [teaching], and [my family’s] passion for it made me passionate about it,” Mahmoud said. “I saw how many people they helped grow, and I saw how much happiness it brought them in general [to teach]. I really wanted to be in that position.”

New Special Education English Teacher Deena Mahmoud began teaching two years ago as a teaching assistant to PV English Teacher Tracy Recine. She then went on to teach at Pascack Hills as a replacement English teacher for a year, before deciding to come back to PV for this upcoming school year as a full-time teacher.

“She is a very reflective teacher. Everything she plans or does she wants feedback on,” Recine said. “She thinks critically about the way she presented something or the way things went in the classroom and how it could be better next time, which is really important for every teacher.”

Mahmoud felt it was “important to consider everyone” when it came to teaching, which was the reason she got certified and is now teaching as a special education teacher at PV.

“I don’t want there to be some barrier just because I don’t have a certain degree, and something I really wanted to do was be able to teach everyone,” Mahmood said.

Recine said that Mahmoud wasn’t afraid to try new things while working with her, explaining that for some units in the English curriculum she felt an urge to “change them up” in hopes of making them more current and interesting.

“[When I was a student teacher] I worked with a teacher who prompted me to try new things, so I just wanted to do that for her,” Recine said.

When Mahmoud found out she got the teaching position at PV, she was in Jordan on a four-month trip.

“I happened to be by the Red Sea in Jordan, and that is when I found out [ I got the job]. I was extremely excited,” Mahmoud said. “ I already felt like a part of this community before I got the job, so I was excited to know that I would be able to continue in this district.”

Recine shared that immediately upon receiving the news that Mahmoud would be working alongside her, she texted her full of excitement.

“I was thrilled. The whole time that I was teaching with her, I really hoped something would open up here [for her],” Recine said. “I wasn’t sure if anybody was going to be retiring or leaving but I was so happy that she ended up here.”