Pinellas County Schools' Teacher of the Year - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Pinellas County Schools’ Teacher of the Year

Pinellas County Schools’ Teacher of the Year

By Jennifer Kennedy

Eileen Iacobucci, Visual Arts Teacher at East Lake High School, is Pinellas County Schools’ 2022 Teacher of the Year. She shares what led to her career in education and what this award means to her.

Why did you choose to become a teacher?  

I grew up in an educational family. My father was a principal, my grandfather was a science teacher and one of my sisters is a kindergarten teacher. It was that upbringing that solidified my goal to become an art teacher. I am passionate about the arts and going into Art Education was a natural pathway for me to share that love of the visual arts with students.

What do you enjoy most about working with high school students?

I started my career as a high school teacher and I wanted to get back to the high school level where I started my journey. I was incredibly fortunate to be hired at East Lake High school, one of the premier high schools in Pinellas County. It is such a pleasure to work with high school students. They are intelligent, spontaneous and passionate about their interests. They want to learn; they want to be challenged and they want their voice to be heard. The visual arts give their story a voice. I can have profound discussions with these young artists and witness their creativity as they create beautiful drawings, photography and digital designs. The most exciting part of my job is to watch a student – who early in the year did not think they had the ability to take an art class – suddenly realize that they are an artist, that they can create amazing pieces of art and feel successful in the process.

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What do you enjoy most about teaching in the Greater Tampa Bay area?

Being an art teacher in the Greater Tampa Bay area is by far the best place to be. There is an abundance of resources for the arts in our community from museums and galleries to world-class musical events. We partner with museums in the area to showcase our students’ artwork. The Salvador Dali Museum sponsors a student surrealism show each year. The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art holds an exhibit of student photography and student 3-D work. The Museum of Fine Arts has an annual student Visual Metaphor show and the Morean Art Center hosts a Word and Image show where students create a piece of art and a corresponding written piece related to a different theme each year. These are just a few of the diverse cultural venues in our area.

What does this accolade mean to you?

I am humbled and honored. These past six months have been the highlight of my career. It’s been a wonderful reminder of the impact that teachers can have on a student’s life. This award validates the teaching profession as an honorable and important job and reaffirms my commitment to assure a quality education to every student in Pinellas County.

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