Colonel Kevin Riley-Base Support Commander presenting Degennaro with his award
To succeed in the military, you must understand the importance of carrying out the order and completing the mission. Although public education is a different entity, outstanding teachers adhere to a similar philosophy. They are results orientated in their approach and do not allow daily distractions to interfere with their learning goals for students.
If you were compiling a portfolio of the practices used by successful math teachers, chapter one would be devoted to Sam Degennaro. On May 20, he was named Air Force Association Teacher of the Year for the Steel Valley. He was recognized at a banquet at the Air Base located in Vienna, Ohio.
Degennaro is a native of Niles and a graduate of JFK. He obtained his degree in math education from DePaul University in Chicago. He started his teaching career in Euclid, but joined the staff of the TCTC for the 2012-13 school year.
Larry Crawford, Academic Supervisor of the TCTC, nominated Degennaro for the award. He stated, “Sam is a modern day instructor, but he demonstrates timeless qualities in the classroom. He greets every student as they enter his classroom every single period of the day. In addition to a friendly hello, they are given an assignment to complete at the beginning of the period. There is no wasted time in his classroom.”
One of Degennaro’s best attributes is that he takes the fear out of failure for his students. Crawford elaborated, “Sam has high expectations for his students, but they also know that he will find alternative ways to present the information to take advantage of their diverse learning styles. Sam is respectful of his kids and never embarrasses anyone. As a result they trust him and work hard to justify his confidence.
The TCTC extends our congratulations to Sam Degennaro. Unlike the military, we don’t bestow medals for outstanding achievement, but quality teachers also demonstrate valor. They prepare students to be college and career ready upon their graduation from high school.