As staff members at the Bill of Rights Institute, we LOVE working with teachers just like you! We appreciate the sacrifice you make all year long and know your dedication to your students is making a life-long impact! As a reminder to ourselves, the staff took some time to think about the influential teachers in our lives, and wanted to share a little about them with you! Stop by later this week to read more from other staff members.


Mrs. Obray, AP Government 12

Mrs. Obray opened my eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities as to how I could make a difference in my community—locally and globally.  She challenged me and my peers to not just learn about the Founding principles, but to make them a real part of our lives and to be active and engaged citizens.  Her encouragement gave me the confidence to explore and pursue my interests in civic engagement.

-Samantha Coombs, Manager of E-Commerce & Customer Relations

Mrs. Steele, 4th Grade

Mrs. Steele was the first teacher I had to recognize my true potential as an advanced student.  Though she would remark to my parents at conferences that I was “very sociable with other students,” code for “a distracted jabber-mouth,” she recognized that this seemingly unfocused boy with average grades was indeed much more advanced than I led on to be.  She requested that I be placed in an advanced “split” class of fifth and sixth grades, with other standout students.  As a result, my grades improved dramatically due to the social aspect of my new classmates in the fifth grade, and the classroom competition that inspired me to do better, because I certainly didn’t want to be kid with the lowest grades in the class.  I wanted to talk about how well I did on my tests with my classmates who also were excelling.  This helped set me on a trajectory for improved academic performance and a life-long interest in learning… and competing.  I greatly appreciate Mrs. Steele’s foresight and faith in me.  If she could only see how I now put my “social” skills to work in a profession where the “gift of gab” and understanding is vital to the success of my career.

-Derik Dupont, Director of Sales

Mr. Stella, Physics 12

I distinctly remember working with Mr. Stella on a hands-on research project and after another teacher and I struggled to disconnect two stuck together objects, Mr. Stella excitedly reached over and, smiling, muttered something about rotational momentum and leverage while effortlessly disconnecting the objects.  He looked visibly awed by the effects of physics on the problem.  Undoubtedly, his passion for Physics was contagious and seeing that much enthusiasm for the subject in my teacher drove my interests as well. Mr. Stella encouraged me to experiment with new ideas and think of out of the box solutions for projects and assignments.  He did all this while heading up the school’s robotics team, science competitions, and science research program.  His passion for physics, hands-on method of teaching, and sincere interest in the success of his students changed the course of my life.

-Pericles Niarchos, Intern

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