Lisa Leaheey, an exceptional English teacher at North Providence High School, has been awarded the prestigious title of the 2023 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. With a career spanning over two decades, Leaheey’s unwavering commitment to her students’ growth, innovative teaching methods, and dedication to educational excellence have earned her this well-deserved honor.
When the announcement was made at a surprise ceremony held in the school’s gymnasium, the excitement was palpable. Rhode Island’s education commissioner, Angélica Infante-Green, commended Leaheey, saying, “Lisa is the kind of teacher and leader who embodies the qualities of an excellent educator. She is an innovative, creative, and energetic educator who works to ensure all students have engaging learning opportunities.”
Leaheey’s passion for teaching and creating engaging learning environments is evident in her approach. She keeps a personal library of books at the school, allowing her students easy access to a wide range of titles. Her commitment to fostering a love of reading and expanding students’ literary horizons is truly inspiring.
Reflecting on her journey as an educator, the Rhode Island Teacher of the Year expressed her gratitude to her students and colleagues, remarking, “You all inspire me.” She credited her family’s influence, as several generations have been dedicated to the teaching profession. Leaheey’s late father, Joseph Pasonelli, served as a middle school principal in North Providence, adding a deep-rooted connection to her passion for education.
Lisa Leaheey’s expertise extends beyond the classroom. With a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, she has been instrumental in integrating technology into the learning process. As the COVID-19 pandemic challenged traditional education, Leaheey played a vital role in transforming classrooms into online learning spaces, ensuring continuity and student engagement.
Furthermore, Leaheey’s commitment to education goes beyond her own school. For the past 14 years, she has assisted Rhode Island school districts in their accreditation preparations, demonstrating her leadership and dedication to educational excellence at a broader level.
Governor Dan McKee praised Leaheey, stating, “This veteran educator has dedicated her life to helping our students think critically, challenge themselves, and strive for success. I am proud to have Lisa, a lifelong learner and tireless student advocate, representing our state as the 2023 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year.”
Leaheey’s humble and passionate demeanor shone through her acceptance speech. She described herself as a “giant book and movie nerd,” relishing the opportunity to share her passion for literature and film with her students daily. Her infectious enthusiasm encourages her students to embark on the journey of discovery alongside her.
In a world where educators shape young minds, Lisa Leaheey stands as an exemplary role model. Her tireless efforts, dedication to student success, and innovative teaching methods make her a beacon of inspiration in the education community. As the 2023 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, she continues to leave an indelible impact on the lives of her students, shaping their futures with knowledge, empathy, and a love for learning.