Amanda Augustine announced as newest teacher of the year


Amanda Augustine with her daughter Jordan and principal Danny Little.

Jana Isern, Staff Writer

IB Psychology and World Geography teacher Amanda Augustine has been awarded the title of Teacher of the Year for the 2022-23 school year. Augustine has been a teacher at PA for 12 years, with a master’s in secondary education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Augustine did not plan on becoming a teacher. She wanted to major in journalism, but since it was not offered at William & Mary she majored in English instead. However, she did not enjoy the English courses offered and decided to start taking introductory psychology classes. This soon became her major given the fact of how much it interested her. 

“I would substitute teach just to do something and make extra money and I thought this is kind of nice,” said Augustine. “I could do this, and then I went back and got a master’s in secondary education.” She was also working as a valet parking attendant, and still does during the summer time. 

Augustine explained that what stood out to her the most and eventually influenced her decision to teach were her past teachers who motivated her to learn. 

“I don’t remember so much of the content. I just remember the feeling of being in their class, the feeling of being challenged but also being seen and encouraged,” she said.

She considers her strength as a teacher to be the ability to maintain a good relationship with her students in the class. 

“When I first started teaching and I didn’t know what I was doing, I could always feel like at least I had that,” said Augustine.

After gaining experience in the classroom, Augustine started incorporating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into her content and teaching style. SEL refers to the teaching of the comprehension of emotions to better understand one’s self and demonstrate empathy for others. She explained that she has attended a lot of professional development in this area, and she focuses on incorporating it in her classes. 

“I love how she cares so much about her mental health,” said junior Lynn Vuphan, who is a student in her IB Psychology class. 

Augustine’s favorite part about teaching psychology is how intriguing the brain is, and how little we know about its “beautiful complexity.” 

This love for psychology sparks the goal that she strives to achieve while teaching, “that students understand the human mind better.” 

Augustine says she encourages her students to learn and understand the complexity of their brain and thinking patterns in order to excel in self-care and value mental health as something that is important.

“I love that she centers mental health and that she can prioritize mental health and includes breaks. It makes a safe learning environment,” said Junior Rylee Sakis, who is also a student in her class. 

Augustine explained, “If you can understand your mind and the mind of others better you can improve your wellbeing, regardless of what content you’re being taught.”