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Teacher of the year reflects on accomplishment


By Roxanne Augeri ’20

Pushing in chairs and wiping off the whiteboard after her social studies class, Courtney Ruggiero makes sure her classroom is ready for the upcoming day. Her Bedford Middle School eighth grade classroom is her second home, as well as for the students she teaches. As she picks up notes on the floor, she reflects on her day and thinks about what she wants to teach next.

This level of dedication to her learning environment is one of the many reasons Ruggiero became recipient of the Teacher of the Year award.

Ruggiero loves to teach because of the influence that she has on her students, helping them learn how to contribute to society. “What makes me passionate about teaching is helping students be the best citizens they can be,” Ruggiero said.

Ruggiero placed first out of 12 other nominees from all schools in the Westport district. These teachers were hand picked by Board of Education members who believed these teachers were worthy of the recognition and making an impact on their students and school community.

“The award itself is a great recognition but it should be noted that many, many teachers in this district are deserving of this award and I’m hoping to represent all of the good teachers,” Ruggiero said. She believes that she is merely an example of the effort that these nominees and many other teachers are putting in to better the education of their students.

Giving her class clear expectations is how Ruggiero succeeds in getting her message across to her students. Along with setting guidelines, she aims to help the students reach goals that they thought weren’t possible. “I enjoy […] when they realize something about themselves that they didn’t expect. A skill they have, or an interest they have,” Ruggiero said.

Ruggiero is helping to develop her students as learners by teaching them how to be good citizens. “As social studies teachers it’s especially important to make sure students feel empowered,” Ruggiero explains. “[To] know that they can participate in their government and that they should participate in their government.” This idea is something Ruggiero advocates to her students throughout each class.

She hopes that while developing her students’ skills as citizens and learners, they will also enjoy their classroom experience and leave with a positive outlook on how to contribute to their community. Her goal as a teacher of “giving them the skills they will need in the real world to do that [be a good citizen],” earned her the award and betters her students for the lives ahead of them.

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