1760 Spotlight - Becky Pizzino

Current position(s) at GA: US Biology Teacher and Head of Truesdell House

Other roles at the school
: member of the GAIN team, member of the US Head Search Committee, Apiary Co-Leader

Number of years overall at GA (including this year): 31

Why have you chosen to stay at GA?
I have been given many wonderful opportunities to grow as a science educator including teaching seven different courses while working with extraordinary mentors and facilities. Being a House Head has also been a special experience for me, getting to know students I may never teach, along with talented colleagues (advisors) who care deeply for the success of our Upper School. The science facilities are second to none, including natural settings found in The Preserve, Academic Courtyard, and of course the Green Roof (with the space for honey bee hives!).

I am also grateful for the excellent education afforded to my daughter, Josie ’15, who is a ‘true’ lifer, having started at the age of five months in the Child Care Center.

What do you most enjoy about teaching at GA?
That is an easy one - it is the relationship with our students, which is based on mutual respect, in addition to a genuine appreciation for the opportunity to attend GA. Teaching in the Upper School is truly a form of mutualism, with faculty working diligently to share their passion and knowledge, with reasonable expectations of how to best push our students to be their best, with an understanding that this road can be a bumpy one.

What do you hope to provide to students in your classes and what do you hope they take away?
My students know that my favorite approach is to answer their questions with a question; encouraging them to the ‘figure out’ a possible answer by making connections to what they already understand. Structure and function! I also trust that my excitement and enthusiasm for all-things-biological also translates to my students’ having a better appreciation for the learning process and, of course, their natural world.

What do you value about the home/school partnership?
I have always found Upper School parents to be extremely supportive, and I have great admiration for the important role the Parents' Committee plays in both the daily life of the school, in addition to special occasions such as the Senior Class Luncheon.

What GA tradition do you enjoy most?
Shaking the hands of our newest graduates, side by side with my colleagues, is by far my favorite day of the year and favorite GA tradition.

What is a classroom activity unique to you?
Teaching Biology affords many opportunities to share special experiences with students, often times as part of a laboratory activity. My favorites include an osmoregulation lab using living marine worms in AP Bio and Marine Bio (usually around Halloween!), our annual Marine Bio trip to the beach and salt marsh of Stone Harbor to better understand the ecology of these two ecosystems, and the biotechnology exercises in which AP students gain experience using a micropipette, and thermocycler, in order to amplify a specific part of their genome to better understand population genetics.

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned from your students?
Make each day count. My students challenge me every day to be a better teacher, and I appreciate their ability to create their niche at GA as scientists, artists, musicians, and athletes.