WITF and Rotary District 7390 recently revealed the Class of 2020 Teacher Impact Award winners. Holly Serio, a music teacher in Eastern Lebanon County School District, is one of the seven recognized for the tremendous positive impact she has made as an educator.
Approximately 250 nominations were sent in for this year’s Teacher Impact Award, but only one teacher or team of teachers is chosen from each county in Rotary District 7390’s region. The counties include Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York.
The Teacher Impact Awards were founded in 2005 by Rotary District 7390.
Serio has been teaching 3rd through 5th grade general music and 5th grade chorus at the ELCO Intermediate School for six years.
The anonymous staff member who recommended her for the Teacher Impact Award listed several redeeming qualities in reference to Serio, including “energetic,” “sincere” and “student-focused,” among others.
“Mrs. Serio organizes a wonderful event showcasing the talents of all students in third through fifth grade at the ELCO Intermediate School,” the staff member continued. “She runs weeks of auditions, practices with students on personal time before school, after school, during lunch and planning, and runs the performance and talent show for the schoolwide assembly.”
Serio told LebTown her favorite aspect of teaching is seeing students express themselves through music.
“Performance-based learning is such a unique and valuable experience, and by exposing them to this at the elementary level, it will hopefully inspire them to continue performing throughout the rest of their school careers and beyond,” she said. “I want to inspire a life-long love of music.”
Serio said she originally wanted to be a composer and performer until a former music teacher of hers inspired her to become an educator.
“He was an incredible teacher and mentor,” she said. “It was through this experience that I decided to go into music education. Once I began classes at LVC, that’s when I fell in love with teaching.”
“We believe that teachers, especially the top excellent teachers, are often unrecognized and not sufficiently praised for all they do for their students,” said Janice Black, who chairs the project for Rotary District 7390, in a press release. “So, we resolved to give them the recognition they deserve.”
Michael Gerhart, ELCO Intermediate School Principal, described his experience working with Serio.
“Spectacular may be a great word to describe Holly Serio, but it still falls short on who she is as an educator, colleague, and ‘cheerleader’ of the Intermediate School and as an educator,” Gerhart said. “Holly demonstrates a wide range of pedagogical approaches to student learning allowing for all students to learn and achieve success even if they feel music is not their strength.
“Her classes are an excellent example of flexibility, responsiveness, and creativity to her students’ needs and abilities. Her work ethic, dedication to teaching, and knowledge of the curriculum has not gone unnoticed with the students in her class and they see the high level of enthusiasm that she has for them.”
Serio is known for going above and beyond, even past her daily teaching hours at ELCO. Several examples of this include the annual PSSA band, daily school-based morning announcements and daily morning announcements made at her home when virtual learning was occurring.
When it comes time for the annual Pennsylvania System School Assessment (PSSAs), Serio helps students prepare by restyling lyrics of songs and includes ways for them to be competent for the assessments. She also arranges a band of teachers to help play the songs with her for the students.
Serio is the Intermediate School’s first creative director and producer of the daily morning announcements, BEE TV. BEE TV allows students to report the news of the school, like activities and events as morning announcers.
“Most recently, it was her initiative and creativity that brought BEE TV Home Edition to our students and staff,” Gerhart said. “Produced by her from her home during the closures of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she provided daily morning announcements to our students each day. She incorporated teacher messages and videos to provide some normalcy during our current at-home orders. Her drive for excellence is only matched by her caring attitude and compassion for our students.”
WITF and Rotary District 7390 currently plan to celebrate the 2020 and 2021 Teacher Impact Awards winners together at a banquet in May 2021. WITF also intends to create a 30-minute Teacher Impact Awards program during the 2020-21 school year that will air on WITF TV in November.
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