Distinguished Faculty Award - Secondary 2016-2017

Distinguished Faculty Award - Secondary 2016-2017
Posted on 05/26/2017
Distinguished Faculty Award - Secondary 2016-2017

Erica Engfer Pizza - Parsippany Hills High School

This faculty member epitomizes the hard working educator that sets high expectations for herself and students. This teacher exhibits a passion for teaching, having deep content knowledge that comes from accomplished artisanship and ability to translate into meaningful learning for students. Lessons are yes, engaging and instill motivation because they are student centered and deconstruct the skills and sense of imagination and creativity to produce good art. The faculty member believes in students and works persistently to inculcate a growth mindset that includes independence, taking creative risks: thinking, creating, succeeding and growing. One supporting student’s letter attests to the life changing interest inspired by this teacher’s instruction. This year’s winner of the Distinguished Faculty Award at the secondary level is PHHS’s art teacher, Erica Pizza.

Erica promotes art in this district. She has brought in numerous artists to speak to her classes. She has helped create new courses for the middle and high schools. She organized the first Artist Trading Card event that brought together all art teachers in the schools. She proposed and developed an Advanced Ceramic and Digital Photography course that has had high enrollment. She has brought AP Studio Art to the high school. She is a leader in sharing strategies and new ways to teach art at our professional development sessions. She has been awarded an Artist in Education Grant over the past two years and used her experiences there to develop our Digital photography course in 2015 and Printmaking in 2016. It is my understanding that this award was granted to her again this year and will enable us to continue the student project work in her building. She organizes an Arts Festival every spring which showcases our student work in our schools and public places. She proposed an Artist award for outstanding senior art work that would be permanently displayed in the school. She celebrates with her students, National Art Appreciation Week, again by displaying their work.

Erica is a model for the educator that extends herself beyond the classroom. She is the PHHS Peer Leadership Advisor, an important organization in helping our students transition from the middle to high school. She promotes competitions that feature our student work and has served as team management leader for K-12 Art. She takes professional interests in her students, helping them with their art portfolios for college and giving them valuable advice on how to critically frame their talents.

Erica is the consummate professional. She rarely misses work, is conscientious in her work, keeps meticulous records and generously extends her time for students and colleagues throughout the day. Her art commitment is present as part of the vitality at PHHS. I invite you to walk into the library and see the iconic print exhibit on the columns or walk the halls and see the Viking tiles her students created. She is an invested individual in our school community, vitally promoting the Arts in PTHSD.