Kentlake High School’s Michael Angelidis is the 2018 Kent School District Teacher of the Year.
Through algebra, calculus and compassion, he teaches problem solving and critical thinking, empowering students to be successful in career, college and life, according to a school district news release Thursday.
“He’s more than a great teacher; he is an amazing teacher,” student Alec Johnson said in the release. “He connects with students personally showing interest in their lives, creates a sense of community in the classroom and demonstrates leadership in and outside the classroom walls.”
When Angelidis accepted the award last month, he first spoke of the many other talented, dedicated Kentlake teachers more deserving of the honor and expressed sincere gratitude for the recognition. While his humility, character and passion allow him to lead by example, it is his flexibility, deep understanding of mathematics and compassion as an instructor that have impacted students the most.
“He can inspire a classroom of students – any age, any content area, any demographic,” said Principal Heidi Maurer. “His belief in each student’s capacity to succeed is clear in every interaction. His expectations for all students are very high, and each student meets the expectations with the scaffolding and support he provides. He operates from a growth mindset with his students, and instills in them the confidence they need to be successful.”
Angelidis builds rapport with students by getting to know them as individuals. This allows him to create a comfortable environment where students become co-owners of their education and their unique learning needs are met.
“I meet students where they are,”Angelidis said. “I create a place where students can be themselves. Mathematics can be challenging, so it’s important to create a comfortable environment where (students) own their learning as well as give them permission and opportunities to safely make mistakes. I believe everyone can be a successful math student, and it’s my responsibly to find ways to help achieve that goal.”
Johnson is one of many students who proves the approach works.
“During the first quarter, I was not motivated to do homework, and it reflected on my test scores,” Johnson said. “Mr. Angelidis was constantly telling me I should do my homework if I wanted to be successful in this class. Eventually, I started doing my assignments because I didn’t want to let him down. After many mornings of coming into class early, I now have a B in the class, which I feel I would have never earned without his help and encouragement.”
Before coming to Kentlake in 2016, Angelidis taught at Kentwood High from 2006 to 2012. Angelidis coached the Kentwood boys basketball team – led by 6-foot-10 center Joshua Smith – to the 2010 Class 4A state title. He resigned after the season to spend more time with his family. He coached the Conquerors for four years.
When he’s not engaging students or inspiring fellow educators and administrators, Angelidis serves children in the greater Seattle area and in Ethiopia as a founding member of the Global Basketball Club and Open Hearts, Big Dreams non-profit organizations.
“I owe it to my students to create opportunities to find their voice, create their dream and develop a vision of possibilities for their futures,” Angelidis said. “My students continue to teach and inspire me as I see them achieve success they didn’t think possible as they create and pursue their dreams, and as they begin to use the skills they developed to solve some of the challenges in their communities.”