Being a teacher can be a very rewarding job; but, with all the day-to-day challenges, it can also be a stressful career-choice. It takes a highly dedicated, skilled, and caring person to become a teacher who can consistently make a positive impact on their students. This year, Key West High School (KWHS) Science teacher, Donna Tedesco was recognized by her peers as a teacher who exemplifies these characteristics and was chosen the 2019-2020 Key West High School Teacher of the Year.
Tedesco was raised in Haddonfield, New Jersey where her passion for science started. Her father loved the outdoors and every vacation the family would spend time hiking, scuba diving and enjoying nature. She attended Rutgers University and achieved both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Biology. After she graduated, Donna Tedesco initially worked ten years as a dental hygienist, but she was looking for something that was more creative and would allow her to make a difference in people’s lives. “I wanted something different, a new challenge everyday,” said Tedesco. So, she decided that teaching would give her the challenge she wanted.
Tedesco began teaching middle school in New Jersey, but she felt she would be more effective at the high school level. She moved to Key West in 2017 and joined the staff at KWHS. Throughout her career, she has taught Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Biology (she says her favorite out of all of them is Chemistry). Mrs. Tedesco’s teaching style creates a structured and relaxed environment, with a little humor thrown in for good measure. She says that there is never enough time in the day for being creative to make learning exciting.
For Tedesco, there has not been any specific moment that has defined her career; rather, the most rewarding aspect of being a teacher is when “The kid who doesn’t get the concept… just gets it,or the kid who hated science… now loves it.” She feels that she has a certain amount of influence as a teacher and she uses that influence to open her students’ minds to a whole new world.
Even after winning such a noteworthy award, Tedesco remains incredibly humble. “There are so many teachers here that love what they do and work so hard, so I am honored to be recognized in this regard.” she said. “I love what I do, I love my kids, I enjoy being here.”
Congratulations Donna Tedesco for being chosen Key West High school Teacher of the Year!