A Closer Look: 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year Mark McAllister

Kelsey Johnson

Claireece Cross and Kelsey Johnson

Mark McAllsiter works as an Industrial Technology teacher at Lafayette and has been here for 13 years. He has now been awarded with Teacher of the Year (TOY) for the 2020-2021 school year.

The four other finalists for the award included music teacher Brad Balog, science teacher Shannon Campbell, music teacher Joseph Gutowski and music teacher Jason Long. 

The process to choose a TOY started in November and the teachers were chosen based on certain criteria which narrowed down to the five finalists. Then the TOY committee chose a winner for the school year.

One of the finalists, Shannon Campbell, said, “I believe Mark deserves teacher of the year because he is an excellent teacher and is dedicated to improving and innovating. He has also been a great resource for teachers when it has come to canvas help which has been awesome this year.”

McAllister enjoys teaching and being around people which has led him to be a successful teacher. 

McAllister said, “It was an honor to be nominated and it felt great to win. Knowing I was voted to receive this award by my equally deserving teaching peers meant a lot.”

McAllister is also the boys tennis coach. One of his players is junior Merrick Zheng.

“I aspire to have Mr. McAllister’s passion for helping others grow and learn about themselves. Though I’ve only interacted with him on the tennis courts, what I’ve heard from his former and current students is that his desire to teach extends far beyond tennis and into the classroom. In the end, I can only hope to have half of his drive and passion for not only tennis but also people,” Zheng said.

McAllister’s work includes educating students in the classroom, encouraging players on the courts, and sponsoring the Women In STEM program. Women In STEM is a club dedicated to empowering, inspiring, and engaging women to pursue a career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Senior Pranavi Pitchyaiah is a member of the club and serves on the Executive Board. 

“I think him sponsoring the club has been so impactful, because without him, we probably would not be able to continue hosting meetings. I’ve been in the club since freshman year and it’s been a really great opportunity for me and in impacting my career choices,” Pitchyaiah said.