By Anita Baffoni WPRO News
WOONSOCKET- In an emotional surprise ceremony, Nikos Giannopoulos, known as Mr. G to his students, was named 2017 Teacher of the Year, an award he says goes “beyond his wildest dreams.”
Giannopoulos works at Woonsocket’s Beacon Charter School teaching special education while co-teaching classes in algebra, chemistry, and filmmaking. He is also the sponsor and coordinator the Gay Straight Alliance at the school.
He is the second teacher in five years from the school to win the teacher of the year award.
“This is for anybody who was ever anxious, anyone who ever struggled in math, for anybody who felt more comfortable in an art room than the gym, this is for you guys,” Giannopoulos said at the ceremony.
Pennsylvania-native Giannopoulos earned a degree in French and the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh. His teacher certification is in secondary special education and secondary English as a Rhode Island Teaching Fellow through the New Teacher Project.
In the application he submitted to be considered for the award, it reads, “The reason I remain a teacher today is that nothing I have ever done makes me feel as good as teaching does. I truly believe that the life of a public servant is as much a gift to the servant as it is to the people he is serving. My greatest contributions and accomplishments as an educator are not awards or accolades. They are the students and artists I have nurtured over the past six years at Beacon Charter.”
He will now become a candidate for National Teacher of the Year and will be announced in April 2017.