Drama teacher Natasha Fischer named Teacher of the Year


Caoimhe Farris

Drama teacher Natasha Fischer describes to her students the tone for their next skit during her 4th Hour Acting 2 class. Fischer won Lafayette’s Teacher of the Year for 2021-2022 on Feb. 7, 2022.

Caoimhe Farris, Staff Reporter

Fine arts teacher Natasha Fischer has been announced as the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year (TOY) for Lafayette.

“It’s very surreal. I was up against four other amazing teachers, I was sure any of them could have got it, so it was just very shocking and very humbling. I still can’t believe it,” Fischer said. 

Fischer has been working at LHS for 14 years. The other finalists included music teacher Brad Balog, science teacher Shannon Campbell, language arts teacher David Choate and math teacher Stefanie Hruby. 

As a teacher, Fischer said she places a focus on building relationships with her students before teaching them.

“I, first and foremost, always have a relationship. Building a relationship in my classroom is more important than teaching them how to act. The dynamic that I have in my room is I want it to be a safe space where kids feel like they can be themselves and come to me with anything they’re dealing with, but also have fun and actually do theater and perform and have a good time doing it,” she said.

Fine Arts Department Chair Lauren Sakowski was the TOY in the 2017-2018 school year. She chaired the TOY committee this year.

“We had so many great nominations and what I think is really wonderful about that is that people are recognizing how much we need to be grateful and thankful for the people in our lives.”

All of the TOY nominations this year came from students, who presented on behalf of the teachers they nominated. Sakowski said this was unusual because typically teachers are nominated by other staff members.

“Every single presenter for each of the five finalists were students, and that hasn’t happened in a very long time. As colleagues, we get the full picture, we see behind the scenes, which I think gives us an advantage. Everybody weighs things differently, but I know personally for me it weighs a little more when a student has nominated somebody,” Sakowski said.

Sakowski stressed the importance of student participation and the impact of recognizing a great teacher.

“Mrs. Fischer is one of my best friends. It has been really important for me throughout this whole process to stay separate, unbiased and try to approach everything with her as evenly and as fairly as possible. That has been really hard because I have been so excited for her every step of the way,” Sakowski said.

Freshman Abby Scott, who nominated and gave a speech on Fischer’s behalf, said in her presentation that Fischer has already positively impacted her high school career, always going ‘that extra mile’ to make her day.

“She has such a love and passion for teaching, and she makes every class fun and engaging. Not only is she a teacher, she is a trusted adult,” she said.

Scott described Fischer’s room as a safe space and said students from all over the school come to her classroom in different times of the day just to say hello.

“Mrs. Fischer takes the time to tell all the students that they’re important to her and their opinions and input matter to her. Mrs. Fischer celebrates diversity and uplifts her students, whether it’s about acting or not and handles all problems in a calm and respectful manner,” Scott said.

The TOY is selected by the staff in a vote after all of the presentations are made at a staff meeting. The school TOY goes on to compete for Rockwood District Teacher of the Year.