Excerpt From: News & Observer. Written By: T. Keung Hui.
A new documentary puts the spotlight on a Raleigh high school teacher and education activist while providing the public a realistic look at what it means to be an educator.
“Teacher of the Year” follows Angie Scioli during the 2013-14 school year as she juggles being a social studies teacher at Leesville Road High School in North Raleigh, leader of the Red4EdNC teacher advocacy group, a Moral Monday protestor, a wife and mother. The film premieres Thursday at Wake Forest University’s Teachers, Teaching and Media Conference.
“This is a story that people need to hear,” said Rob Phillips, the film’s co-director and a Leesville High teacher. “Quite frankly, it’s a story for now.”
Terry Stoops, director of education research studies for the John Locke Foundation, called Scioli a “fantastic teacher.” But he cautioned against putting too much stock into considering Scioli as a typical teacher.
“It is a narrow look at one person’s experience and generalizing that experience over the whole teacher workforce,” said Stoops, a former teacher.
Phillips and Jay Korreck, who also used to teach at Leesville, were out to create a film that challenged how Hollywood portrays veteran teachers as hacks and good teachers as outsiders.
The co-directors focused on Scioli, a teacher since 1993 whose awards include being a Teacher of the Year at Leesville. Soon after filming, Scioli became an activist because of some state legislative changes, such as awarding vouchers for students to attend private schools, removing job protections for new teachers and ending extra pay for new teachers who receive master’s degrees.