Talk to any parent in Philadelphia, and you’re bound, eventually, to get to the topic that’s always top of mind for those raising children in the city: schools.
Talk to them long enough to get past the usual worries and you’ll likely find yourself hearing something beautiful and perhaps (to those looking on from the outside) surprising: That their child’s teacher is amazing.
Why? For all sorts of reasons that come down to the simple fact that so many teachers in this city go above and beyond teaching, to make sure their students learn well, live well and become the best human beings they possibly can. They are epic teachers—icons, even.
Those are the teachers (or principals, aides, school nurses and counselors) we want to know about as part of Integrity Icon Philly.
The contest, open for nominations until April 13, aims to find the taxpayer-funded workers in Philly who are the most respectful and caring; know their work makes a difference to people’s lives; act in a trustworthy and transparent way to solve problems the best they can; treat everyone equally, without regard to politics or influence; and go above and beyond to provide good service to Philadelphians.
Does this describe any educator you know? Nominate them here.
We already know about some teachers whose work is worth celebrating—we’ve celebrated them here, in The Citizen. Here are just a few:
- Frankford High School football coach Bill Sytsma, who hosts weekly Friday night hangs for his players in the off season, to give them a safe space, away from the trauma of the gun violence on their streets.
- Central High School history teacher Thomas Quinn, leading the charge to register high school seniors citywide to vote.
- Daniel Peou, the principal at Horace Furness High School, who’s making immigrant students and their families feel welcome.
- Olga Torres, a health information management teacher at Mastbaum Vocational High School, who won a Kennedy Center honor for being an “inspirational teacher”.
- Maureen Boland at Parkway Center City Middle College, who has led her students in raising voices against gun violence.
Those are some pretty fantastic city teachers. And we know there are more like them, all over Philly. Tell us who they are, so we can celebrate them as one of this year’s Integrity Icons. It is the least we can do.