Ohio County Teacher Goes Above And Beyond For Her Second Graders
Heather Puglisi, a second-grade teacher from Ohio County, has earned West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes excellence and creativity in West Virginia teachers.
Mrs. Puglisi was presented the award this week at Warwood Elementary in Wheeling, West Virginia. She won the award in March, but COVID-19 precautions delayed the presentation where she received a monetary award, our signature Blenko Above and Beyond blue apple paperweight, a certificate of recognition, and a host of other special gifts made possible by the sponsorship of Advantage Technology.
"I am extremely honored to receive the Above and Beyond Award," Mrs. Puglisi said. "There are so many teachers that go above and beyond, especially right now when teaching both in-person and remote students. I truly appreciate the nomination and recognition. Thank you!"
Kelly Griffith, WVPB’s Education Director, said Puglisi certainly goes Above and Beyond the call of duty for her students. "It was an honor to visit Mrs. Puglisi and her class at Warwood Elementary. She is an exceptional teacher who deserves recognition for her hard work and dedication to her students. It was refreshing to see her nurturing spirit as she interacted with her second graders. After a tough year, her sweet classroom was full of love. Truly a blessing!"
Mrs. Puglisi was nominated by a member of the community who watched her grow into her dream role of being a teacher. "She has always been caring, compassionate, incredibly smart and diligent," said her nominator.
She has a master’s degree plus 45 in teaching from West Virginia University and is one of only three percent of teachers across the country who have National Board Certification. She completed all 2020 summer professional development training offered by Ohio County, the West Virginia Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She is secretary of her Faculty Senate and is a Mentor Teacher.
"Through completing this professional development, she created a virtual classroom that was shared with colleagues and stakeholders to present ways to implement virtual learning," her nominator said. "She is a determined, hardworking teacher who constantly betters herself for her students. She has specific visions for her students and classroom that she makes happen by utilizing the DonorsChoose network and by funding from her own pocket."
Mrs. Puglisi is especially passionate about science and is proud of her home state of West Virginia, so she blends those loves and brings them to her classroom by using Ada Lace books, written by West Virginia's Emily Calandrelli, who works for NASA. This year she is also incorporating books about Katherine Johnson, another successful state native.
She is planning to educate her students on Johnson's groundbreaking work with NASA, and teaching basic coding using robots. The in-person students will use the physical robots, and the virtual students will use an app to code to make a character move and dance.
Mrs. Puglisi partners with her fellow second-grade teacher to encourage their young students to research things that they wonder about, thus encouraging students to learn how to do research in a gently guided way, while giving them some independence. They will make virtual books using a book creation app that can be shared with the intent to build confidence and creativity among students.
"I feel privileged to have known and supported Heather through life," her nominator said. "She is the most passionate person I know. She cares deeply for her students and nurtures their love of knowledge. All teachers deserve recognition for their daily hard work of shaping America's future leaders, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of this Above & Beyond Award than Heather Puglisi, NBCT."