Stephen Legawiec, Virginia and U.S. History teacher at Lafayette High School, is Virginia’s 2019 Region 2 Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made during a surprise visit to Legawiec’s classroom by Dr. James Lane, the state superintendent for public instruction, and Williamsburg-James City County Schools Superintendent Dr. Olwen Herron.
Legawiec has been a teacher for seven years. He joined Williamsburg-James City County Schools in 2016 and quickly established himself as an innovative and passionate educator who is committed to engaging all students. He was named the WJCC Teacher of the Year in April.
“I commend each and every one of these [eight regional] teachers for the excellent work they do every day to empower students and engage them in excellent learning experiences,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “While we are currently recognizing these eight teachers, they represent the thousands of amazing teachers in classrooms across the state.”
“Any child would be fortunate to have Steve Legawiec as a teacher,” said WJCC Superintendent Olwen Herron. “His passion for history is evident in every lesson and he has the unique ability to guide students as they make important connections between the past, present and future.”
Through research and participation in classroom debates and seminars, students in Legawiec’s class are challenged to assess their views and ideas. He has made it his mission to ensure that all students, regardless of abilities or limitations, are thinking critically and developing the skills necessary to confront the realities of the 21st century.
“I expect my students to have conversations about history and politics with their families at the dinner table, to write to their representatives when they feel unheard, and to engage actively in the betterment of our community and world,” Legawiec said.
A self-described “history nerd,” Legawiec sees himself as a facilitator of lifelong learning. Outside of the classroom he supports students as a SOL tutor, Model United Nations coach, and mentor.
Beyond his work with students, Legawiec strives to share innovative instructional strategies with his colleagues at this school and across the school division. He has been an active participant and leader of professional development focused on engaging struggling learners, empowering students to shape their own learning, and creating opportunities for cross-curricular lessons.
As the 2019 Region 2 Teacher of the Year, Legawiec is among eight teachers from across Virginia who will now be considered for statewide honors. The 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be announced September 14 during a celebration in Richmond.