Proud to be MACS: March 2022

Below are remarks delivered at the March Board of Education Workshop Meeting at Palermo Elementary on March 17, 2022 by board President James Emery.

Robert Teifke, March 2022

Setting a great example is a characteristic that is often admired. For March’s Proud to be MACS recipient, Robbie Teifke, 1st Grade teacher at Palermo Elementary, he had not one but two great examples to admire and that ultimately led to his career in teaching.

Robbie grew up in New Haven, the son of Barb and Bob Teifke. He attended New Haven Elementary, Mexico Middle School, and Mexico High School graduating with the large and very competitive Class of 2011.

He would continue his education at SUNY at Oswego majoring in Childhood Education.

When asked why he chose education, he stated that his daily volunteering in the 1st Grade classrooms of his Aunt Lisa and later his sister Sarah at New Haven Elementary while he was still a student at Mexico inspired him to pursue a career as a teacher. It is the great examples set by Lisa and Sarah that Robbie tries to emulate. In fact, he confided to me that sister Sarah taught him “everything he knows.” It was refreshing to me to hear of this loving relationship that the two share.

After graduation from Oswego and while working for Kinney's Pharmacy, Robbie started subbing for our District. In 2017, he followed in his aunt and sister’s footsteps by becoming a full time teacher of 1st Grade at Palermo Elementary.

Despite the many challenges presented by COVID, Robbie loves teaching at Palermo. To him, it feels like its family where love and support from the staff and his colleagues are always present. To that end, Robbie appreciates the leadership of Principal Peggy Scorzelli and believes she has played a major role in establishing and maintaining the loving, nurturing atmosphere that exists at Palermo Elementary.

When asked about the favorite part of his job, Robbie stated that, despite the tough and challenging aspects of teaching, the reward comes when he makes a difference with one of his students, something that he feels he has accomplished more often than not.

The tough and challenging aspects of teaching have only been amplified during the last two years. For Robbie, the worst part was the remote learning phase. Because he tries to make learning exciting, Robbie teaches with lots of energy and a positive attitude that he generates from the presence of his students. Consequently, he missed the energy from his students during those months of remote learning.  Also, Robbie tries to adjust his teaching style to fit the needs of his students, that is, “hands on” or standard presentation. Remote learning made the “hands on” approach difficult to achieve.

Besides teaching, Robbie undertook the challenge of serving as coordinator of “The Leader in Me” program at Palermo. Nominator Kaitlin Baker appreciates Robbie’s efforts when she writes, “He heads our Leader in Me leadership team, always planning, organizing and executing whatever needs to be done to keep our lighthouse status.  Everyone in our building benefits from his “green light” attitude.”

It is serving as the Leader in Me coordinator that represents his outstanding memory.  Robbie undertook this role in just his second year of teaching.  He believes it has helped him grow as a teacher.  Being the facilitator has helped him integrate this character education program into his instruction and transfer it to his students.

Returning to Kaitlin’s nomination, she writes, “I would like to nominate Robbie Teifke because he always goes above and beyond for both students and staff at Palermo Elementary school. I think that Robbie Teifke inspires excellence and leadership in all through his positive and motivating attitude that he displays each and every day.  Through all of the most recent challenges he never fails to show positivity and willingness to do whatever is best for the students. His love and devotion to his job help students feel safe and ready to learn.”

So Robbie, for bringing energy and a positive attitude to the classroom to make learning exciting, for adjusting your teaching methods to fit what is best for your students, for undertaking the challenge of serving as your building’s Leader in Me Coordinator, for going above and beyond for both students and staff at Palermo Elementary, but most importantly for not only following the great examples for teaching set by your Aunt Lisa and Sister Sarah but being a great example yourself, it is fitting, that we, the Board, recognize you as our Proud to be MACS recipient for March 2022.

Mr. Teifke Proud to be MACS