REYNOLDSVILLE — Jeff Tech (Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational Technical School) mathematics instructor Leslee Galluzzi of Brockway was crowned the 2018-2019 “Teacher of the Year” recently.
The 2017-2018 TOTY, mathematics and art instructor Angela Dragich, introduced her coworker with a speech at the awards ceremony May 23, not revealing Galluzzi’s name until the end.
“I have witnessed first-hand the impact this teacher has on (her) students,” Dragich said. “This individual creates an engaging classroom for students to learn. They brush off how great of a job they do, but students speak highly of this individual.
“The students comment on how well they grasp a complex topic when this instructor teaches.”
Dragich said Galluzzi is also known for planning day trips around the school during class, or having her students use chalk on the floor in the hallways to learn.
“When she talks about her students and their accomplishments, you see her passion for this career,” she said.
Galluzzi, who previously taught in South Carolina, has been at Jeff Tech for about 12 years, she said. She quit teaching for a while and started again in 2007.
“There are so many great teachers here – you just never know who it’s going to be,” she said of the award.
It’s very special to be nominated by her students, Galluzzi says. She puts in the extra effort by staying after school or assisting them during her planning period. They can even call her at night if they aren’t getting the hang of something.
Galluzzi and her co-teacher try to work through problems with students in the most hands-on ways possible, she said.
She teaches geometry and mechanical math, sometimes using items like washers, nuts and bolts or wheels from a shop for lessons, or filling beakers with water.
“It’s anything I can do to help them understand,” Galluzi said.
Her husband, Larry, was also a JT instructor around three years ago, and has been very supportive, she says.
“We have a fabulous school here and teachers who care,” she said. “All the teachers and staff, the cafeteria ladies and janitors, everyone wants what’s best for the kids, and they all strive to do the best they can.”