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  • Writer's pictureErin Madigan White

Weston Wednesday: Meet Glenfield Teacher Eleni Zapantis

This is the latest in our “Weston Wednesday” series, spotlighting the winners of the 2024 Judy Weston Awards for Inspired Teaching. Follow along each week to learn more about the impact these educators are making in the Montclair Public Schools. 

Eleni Zapantis has brought literature to life for many Glenfield Middle School students, broadening their understanding of writing and opening their eyes to voices of authors from other cultures and life experiences.

In nomination letters for the Weston awards, students and caregivers said Zapantis leads with kindness, creates a nurturing classroom environment and demonstrates a passion for the subject matter she teaches. She bolsters students’ confidence, teaches them how to analyze and dive deep into books, allows them to embrace the joy of writing, and transforms attitudes towards reading and language arts.

One parent wrote: “[Ms. Zapantis] is the first teacher that has inspired my daughter to enjoy a novel!” 

A student wrote: “She has an almost perfect balance of pushing students, but not stressing them out.” 

Ms. Zapantis goes above and beyond the curriculum to engage her students with thoughtful discussions and experiences, such as organizing a walking field trip to an Ethiopian restaurant so they could taste cuisine similar to food they'd read about in a book.

My daughter was beaming after this excursion," a parent said. "Not only did she enjoy the book and the food, but she had a great conversation with her table mates. This was the most engaged I've seen my daughter all year.” 

Ms. Zapantis’ class is a bright spot for students. She challenges them in engaging ways, and her passion shines through. For all these reasons, Eleni Zapantis is an inspired teacher.

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