WILMINGTON -- One teacher's passion for her work has earned her the respect of her students and one of the county's highest honors for educators. Suzanne Micallef's unique style has made her popular among students and colleagues. In the classroom Suzanne Micallef runs a tight ship. Student Travis Koenig said, "She's the kind of teacher that if you write a bad essay -- don't even give it to her. You know what I mean?" But her students at Isaac Bear Early College High School don't seem to mind. Travis said, "We do like two essays a week. And even though everybody says that's a lot of work, you'll be surprised of how well of a writer we'll be when we get out of here." The New Hanover County Board of Education recently dubbed Micallef "teacher of the year." She says she's humbled by the award, but that it doesn't compare to the satisfaction she gets from teaching. Micallef said, "If I won the lottery and became a millioniare I'd probably be doing the same thing the next day." Micallef is technically an English teacher, but uses literature to teach deeper concepts, a tactic that intrigues her students. Student George Pocheptsov said, "She's definitely one of my favorite teachers because of how unique her class is." Micallef said, "I'm trying to teach in a way that allows them to become informed citizens." Micallef moved to Wilmington from New York ten years ago to attend UNCW. She earned her master's degree and then taught at John T. Hoggard High before getting her position at Bear. "Hopefully they can sit at the dinner table and discuss something that went on in the world with their parents and no longer make dealing with the world something you do at 25 but have them become participating in their world," Micallef said.
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