Students and co-workers at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School call him “Mr. Pappas,” but now they can also call Nick Papagiannopoulos the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) 2022 Teacher of the Year.
Today, as Mr. Pappas was teaching students a lesson about bias, he was unexpectedly joined by Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon, who had a surprise announcement: Papagiannopoulos has been named SCOE’s newest Teacher of the Year.
“It’s an incredible feeling because of all the hard work—not only myself, but my colleagues. We work hard as a team. It’s just incredible to be recognized,” Nick said.
“Nick has just been such a wonderful force within the school over many years, motivating his students, creating programs for them. Employment opportunities. Opportunities for them to go on to further education. And he’s just an amazing advocate for young people,” said Superintendent Gordon.
For the past five years at Palmiter, Papagiannopoulos has served as Teacher in Charge (an acting administrator in the absence of the site principal) and is a lead teacher. He is responsible for organizing school-wide student enrichment activities and community-based instructional experiences. He also serves as Student Council Advisor and Academic Bowl Coach.
Papagiannopoulos, a SCOE employee since 2013, was honored as Certificated Employee of the Month for June 2015 and April 2019. He was one of six teachers nominated to compete this year for the honor of being SCOE 2022 Teacher of the Year. He has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington State University, and a Master of Arts in education (specializing in cross-cultural teaching) from National University.
Since 1988, SCOE has celebrated its teachers and the important work they do by selecting a SCOE Teacher of the Year. SCOE teachers are nominated by parents, staff, management, or peers. The nominees go through a selection process, answering written questions and being formally interviewed. Teachers report that this process helps them recognize their many accomplishments, coming away with a renewed sense of dedication and a reminder about why they entered the teaching profession.
Papagiannopoulos will be honored, along with teachers representing other Sacramento County school districts, during a Sacramento County Teachers of the Year event to be determined. During that event, two teachers will be named the Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2022 and will become eligible to compete in the California Teachers of the Year Program.
About Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School
Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School educates special needs students with the primary disability of Emotional Disturbance (ED) in grades 7–12. The students are referred directly by local school districts unable to provide the more highly structured behavioral support program available at Palmiter. Students are provided a standards-based educational program supported by a strong vocational/transitional/school-to-world emphasis.