FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- Two sisters from Fair Lawn were both named "Teacher of the Year" in New Jersey.
Kelly Braff, 29, teaches Kindergarten at the Radburn Elementary School. Her sister, 27-year-old Tracy Osback, teaches first grade in Guttenberg.
Kelly was the first of the two to discover she earned this year's award (representing the Radburn School). Tracy found out she was nominated the following month (of Anna L. Klein School).
"It was a complete surprise," said Kelly said, whose husband is also a teacher. "It's hard to get the award, and the odds of us both getting it the same year is ironic."
The sisters say teaching is in their blood. Their younger sister Katie, 26, is also a teacher. The three grew up watching mom Laurie Osback prepare lessons for students in Paterson -- where she's been for 18 years.
"When we were younger, my mom was working at a local preschool and we were just amazed by her," Tracy told Daily Voice.
"She really modeled us into being nurturing, caring and thinking 'outside of the book' kind of people."
The sisters helped their mom set up her classroom in the summer, going across the street to a little bodega for supplies that they say made all the difference in the classroom.
"Her students were her kids," Tracy said. "She had a love for the children, and that's what she showed us."
"We noticed how she was helping her students," Kelly added. "We grew up with that, and knew we wanted to be teachers and make differences in the lives of others."
These days, the four Osback ladies collaborate on lessons plans and crafts together.
"Whenever we’re together, all we can talk about is school," Tracy said.
"That's what helps us become better educators. We're all in this together and we have the same goal to be there for our kids."
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