Science teacher named 2020 Teacher of the Year


Science teacher Steve Russillo alongside students in the Chess Club after winning first place in the County Tournament.

After teaching at Northwest for 11 years, astronomy teacher Steven Russillo has been named Northwest’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. 

“When the list of nominees was published, I couldn’t believe I was listed alongside so many of Northwest’s A-list teachers, two or three National Board recipients among them,” Russillo said. “I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around (the fact that I won).”

Russillo accredits his love of teaching to the relationships he has built with students throughout the years. In addition to being a science teacher, Russillo also runs the Chess Club, where he helps Northwest students develop a love for the game of chess. 

“Having a positive impact on someone’s life is immensely rewarding,” Russillo said. “It’s always a special moment when I can see that a student has been ‘bitten by the bug’ and is now as fascinated by my subject as I am, if not more.”

Russillo has taught hundreds of students in Guilford County throughout his time as a teacher. Senior Sarah Riedell is currently enrolled in Russillo’s honors anatomy class. Riedell enjoys his unique approach to teaching, as he makes learning enjoyable for his students. 

“He’s a great teacher,” Riedell said. “He has a lively personality, which makes the topics fun. He also knows a lot of cool facts.”

Russillo is well liked by students and staff alike, as he was voted Teacher of the Year by his colleagues. 

“(Russillo) demonstrates his passion for science education and his care for his colleagues every day,” the nominator for Russillo said. “He goes above and beyond for his students and his classes.”

Since receiving Teacher of the Year, Russillo has been celebrated with praise throughout the Northwest community. 

“I’ve been showered with wonderful emails and texts (since being announced Teacher of the Year),” Russillo said. “People have approached me in the halls, or yelled at me down long hallways, with congratulations. I’m even hearing from friends who work at other schools.”

When reflecting upon his time at Northwest, Russillo believes the students, staff, and the subject he teaches have made his experience well worthwhile. 

“My students are sharp as tacks… I’m beyond fortunate to be a member of an eminently talented faculty… and the two classes I teach are my two favorite academic subjects in life,” Russillo said. “Working with students is fun; it’s why I took the job, why I knew I’d love it and why I still love it.”