Spotlight on our Teacher of the Year Candidates

Whitman Principal John Murphy (right) and Assistant Principal Jon Varlamos congratulate their Teacher of the Year, Ms. Elizabeth Leogrande.
Whitman Principal John Murphy (right) and Assistant Principal Jon Varlamos congratulate their Teacher of the Year, Ms. Elizabeth Leogrande.

Each person has a unique perception as to what constitutes an excellent teacher. In some cases, one can observe a common strand in the beliefs of students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Testimonials regarding Elizabeth Leogrande from all of the above demonstrate that commonality.

One student writes, “It is with great pleasure that I write this letter in regard to Mrs. Leogrande, not only a teacher at Walt Whitman High School but a loving wife, mother, friend and more… I have had the privilege of working closely with Mrs. Leogrande and getting to know her very well. (She) is a compassionate, professional, dedicated, funny, intelligent woman and has truly been a role model to me throughout my four years at Walt Whitman…(She) spends long hours planning events and meetings…Our largest events include Homecoming, Pep Rally, Safe Halloween, Powder Puff, Spring Fling, and the Carnival Bonfire…Throughout her experiences as Executive Student Government Organization advisor, Mrs. Leogrande has become a widely-known individual…and many students, especially upperclassmen, are very friendly with her as a result of hosting these events. (She) is organized, detailed and precise, which is …why every event has been such a major success…”

Principal John Murphy writes, “I have the privilege to have a teacher …on my staff…I have come to know and love…She is one of the unsung heroes of our school, rarely getting the praise she so richly deserves…She is truly a force within the high school that students come to not only respect but love…Her constant presence and focus on students’ success are why so many have come to know and respect her…”

A colleague and parent in the District states, “She is in school early in the morning, stays late every afternoon including Fridays to give extra help (to students). (She) mentors students… who need to make a connection with an adult in the building. She spends countless hours preparing fun and interesting lessons and activities to motivate her students. Not only does Elizabeth put her students first, but she is also a team player. She is always there to help a colleague or lend an ear for support…”

Dr. Muller writes, “She is a natural mentor for new teachers, and it is common to see her planning with her more novice counterparts. I many times refer to Mrs. Leogrande as the teacher of “yes” as she has agreed to so many things over the course of years. She is interested in getting involved with anything that will help kids…”