Angie Scioli, a North Carolina teacher, is the subject of a 2017 documentary. (Image from “Teacher of the Year” documentary)
Angie Scioli is an award-winning veteran high school social studies teacher and education activist at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C. She was the subject of the well-received 2017 documentary, “Teacher of the Year,” an effort to show the authentic life of an educator — not the Hollywood version. It following her through the 2013-2014 school year as an educator and also in her roles as a mother, wife, protester and education advocate. (See trailer below)
Earlier in her life, Scioli thought she would become a lawyer, but she received a Teaching Fellows Scholarship in 1989 and decided to accept it and teach for the four years that were required for the grant. Then something happened that she hadn’t expected.
As she wrote on the website of the Red4EdNC advocacy organization she founded: “I fell in love with teaching. Deeply.” But things began to change, and legislators made laws she thought were harmful to public education:
Cuts to the pre-K program, cuts to teacher assistants, elimination of the Teaching Fellows program, another year without a raise, cuts to supplies, textbooks . . . the more I learned, the sicker I became. And then, I wept. And finally, an anger began to grow inside of me. I felt foolish. What kind of idiot works tirelessly for twenty years, stressing out each day to make every lesson the best it can be, worrying about scores of kids, when what I do is not valued by the people in power?
She stopped giving her all — for two days:
I thought about my students who need the tutoring, who need the recommendation letters. I thought about my principal, and I felt bad that I would disappoint him. I really like him. And I felt sad for me. I felt like the real me was dying, that a lifeless zombie was taking my place. And I had sworn I would never be that zombie teacher.
Then it occurred to me — like a flash! I will become a professional protester. I will teach as I always have, with all the same passion, embracing all the stress, despite a hostile political climate that makes that act seem irrational! I will stand in the truth that high quality public education remains the key to a vibrant democracy and an opportunity society. And that cannot be achieved without great teachers. And I REFUSE to be anything other than a great teacher. That shift felt radical, and very right, and suddenly, I felt very empowered.
She founded Red4edNC.com to fight legislation that hurts public schools and to advocate on behalf of teachers.
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