‘Teacher of the Year’: Documentary to Feature Leesville Teacher

— For a few years, Leesville Road High School social studies teacher Angie Scioli has been inviting former students over for Saturday morning pancakes.

She likes playing hostess and said it is her way of teaching, even after students have their diplomas.

“We’re finding that from age 18 to 29 years old, it’s kind of a lost decade in people’s lives,” Scioli said.

So, after building the relationship in the classroom, the teacher and former students now sit around and talk about life.

“If not their parents, maybe it’s nice to have someone they’re familiar with in their life,” she said.

Her dedication to stay involved with her students after they leave convinced some former colleagues-turned-filmmakers to feature Scioli in a documentary. It’s called “Teacher of the Year.”

“Behind the scenes is the part that people really don’t see, know, understand, or even think about. The reality of off the grid teaching,” said filmmaker Rob Phillips.

“Teacher of the Year” is almost finished, thanks in part to a grant from the National Education Association Foundation.

Scioli hopes the film informs the debate on public education.

“This is a good time for people to see inside the life of a teacher and have a more nuanced debate or conversation about what teaching and learning really entail,” she said.

Scioli wants people to see how teachers influence students well beyond the classroom.

“There is no denying when you sit around a table when kids are talking about ideas you taught them, you do have influence,” she said.

“Teacher of the Year” premieres in March at Wake Forest University. The filmmakers want to raise some more money to finish the production and enter it into film festivals.