Model Teachers at NNPS

Model Teachers:
High School English

Meet this model teacher team and learn how college, career and citizen-ready skills come alive in their classrooms!

Christina Majewicz

Content: High School English
School: Menchville High
Years Taught: 17

What do you most love about teaching?
I enjoy helping students reach their potential. I enjoy working with students, on every level of learning, to help them gain confidence and to watch them grow beyond what they thought they could achieve. I also enjoy the personal aspect of watching teenagers mature into young adults who have dreams and aspirations.

What makes NNPS a great school division?
NNPS is a great school division because of their vision for all students and the development of their staff. The employees of NNPS work together to create a positive and rigorous classroom setting for students of all levels. Additionally, the support among staff, the friendships, and the commonality to care for and provide a safe and motivational work environment makes working for NNPS a satisfying and enjoyable experience.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I am passionate about helping other teachers because of the way other teachers have supported me. As I am turning the page and becoming a more seasoned teacher, I realize what I have learned and how I have grown, but most importantly, how I still want to improve. I am surrounded by a very dedicated department of professionals who consistently want to rise to the challenge of meeting and exceeding the educational goals for their students. We all work together to support and motivate one another to be the best at our craft in preparing the next generation for success. When teachers help one another, everyone learns and grows. Teaching is an exhausting, fulfilling, enjoyable, challenging job that brings me joy and happiness. My desire is to pass this passion on to others.

Brian Deprinzio

Content: 12th Grade English/ Honors English
School: Heritage High
Years Taught: 2

What do you most love about teaching?
I did not become a teacher to get rich quick, nor get rich at all for that matter.  I became a teacher because I am passionate about my content and I want to make a real difference in the lives of others.  I have accepted a sometimes stressful, yet wonderfully rewarding position and I am confident that the world is better off as a result.  Since I became a member of the #5800 Family of Heritage High School, I have learned that the main components of teaching are being at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, a motto we instill in our students.  I accept diversity with open arms and remind myself that it is not only the students who are capable of learning in high school.  I understand that the standards that govern my content area will not go away and they are designed to be something of a checklist for instruction and the tests that go along with those standards are not intended to be a punishment, but a measure of my ability as a teacher and a measure for my students to demonstrate their ability to comprehend what I have taught them.  I understand that we do not live in a perfect world and people are often short-sighted, narrow-minded, or just downright mean-spirited.  I realize that I must overcome this adversity and show my students how to rise up with me.  And finally, I have come to terms with the fact that technology is ever-advancing and has a foundational role in modern education.  While I am mindful not to rely entirely on the technology available to me, I try to embrace it for the learning tool that it is.  It is easy to have school pride and to love my job when I am a Heritage Hurricane, because I do not just belong to a school, I belong to the #5800 Family.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
The reasons I am passionate about supporting fellow teachers requires a bit of an explanation.

  • The characteristics of a teacher leader…can be described as wholesome, understanding, motivated, and open-minded.  A teacher leader is one who serves in the capacity of a frontrunner for educational reform and policy enactment, in addition to everything that they do to serve their students; someone who demonstrates a willingness to advocate for their students and colleagues; someone who is willing to be observed by fellow teachers and administrators to serve as a model or ideal image of what teaching should look like in the classroom.  These teachers should demonstrate consistent practices and classroom policies and procedures that not only foster student growth, but establishes an environment in which the students feel safe, comfortable, and valued.  These individuals should have a growth mindset and be open to constructive criticism as well as being driven to pursue professional development and continuing education opportunities.   
  • What any teacher, new or experienced, does to become a teacher leader…is recognize an inherent ability within oneself as a leader or person willing to advocate for student and faculty rights.  By being willing to take on added responsibility and positions of advocacy within one’s own school and district, in addition to the plethora of responsibilities inherited by becoming a teacher, a teacher leader surrenders additional time, effort, and focus in exchange for the betterment of the educational process.  As a relatively new teacher, I find that my inexperience has been a positive influence on my teaching style, as I have been more open to new and innovative ways to explore classroom development opportunities.  That is to say, I have not found myself in a state of comfort of complacency assuaged by years of teaching.
  • The effect of teacher leaders on other teachers…should be an insightful one.  Teacher leaders are like the carriers of the baton in a relay race.  They carry earned wisdom and useful insight.  Other teachers, when open-minded, can gain tremendous motivation, ideas, and a level of desirable accountability from teacher leaders.  When I first began teaching, the lead teacher of the English department at my school showed me a great deal about how adopting certain systems can not only benefit the students, but also benefit me as the teacher.  She showed me ways to “work smarter,” and she put the school year into perspective for me, encouraging me all the way through, despite the inconvenience upon her own overly-burdened schedule that it must have inflicted.  It was because of her influence that I volunteered to serve as a teacher leader in my school.  To answer this question more directly, I am passionate about supporting other teachers because the effect that teacher leaders have on other teachers is that they inspire them to become teacher leaders themselves.
  • The effect of teacher leaders on student performance……should be an augmented effect than a typical teacher’s impact would be.  I say this because a teacher leader tends to operate a bit more consistently as they have fellow teachers observing them, not only through formal observations, but observing them work and interact in the school environment as a whole.  Like being a parent versus having no children, often, parent behave more responsibly because they are on the pedestal of a role model.  Student performance will typically improve under the guidance of teacher leaders because these leaders tend to have better insight and a clearer understanding of pedagogy being employed.

What is the best way to describe your classroom on a typical day?
The approach to education in my 12th grade English/ Honors English programs at Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy is one founded in respect, love, and academic rigor that rewards epiphany, encourages critical thinking and requires thoughtful analysis.  There is no wrong way to learn.  In my 12th English classroom, each student is met with genuine friendship, a passion for literature, and a Socratic-style environment that gives each student an equal voice in the class, because that is what they each deserve.  My classroom is one predicated upon kindness and mutual respect for each other’s ideas, beliefs and perspectives.  There is no front row, nor back row in my class because my students’ desks/seating are arranged in a circle, putting all eyes on each other and on me, the instructor, promoting a sense of personal responsibility.  My students are expected to come to class each day prepared and ready to participate in class discussions, collaborative group work, and group readings.  Everyone has bad days and that is understood, however, the nature of 12 English is a preparatory one, and as such, all students are reminded that even on bad days one must do what one must do.  All students are entitled to a safe and secure classroom in which they feel like they belong and are accepted, feel respected, have the opportunity to learn and enjoy the process, be represented by their own voice, and have hope that what they are learning will enhance their current and future lives.


Anthony Vann

Content: High School English
School: Denbigh High
Years Taught: