Meet Sequoyah’s newest Teacher of the Year


Ms. Tiffany Weck reviews with biology students before a test over cell reproduction on a Monday morning. Weck’s willingness to help students was cited by a colleague as a source of inspiration. Photo by Emily Hill

The prestigious award of Teacher of the Year is given to one teacher who has made an impact on students and the community. Although many are nominated, only one teacher can be selected. This year, the award went to science teacher and special education department head, Ms. Tiffany Weck. 

Just ten years ago, teaching was only a long-held aspiration for Weck. Now, due to hard work and a compassionate dedication to her students, Weck’s dream has manifested into a career which has changed the lives of her students and coworkers. 

Before becoming a teacher, Weck worked as a chiropractor. For Weck, deciding to teach later in life had its benefits.  

“[Because] I was a little older, I saw things from a different perspective. [If] I had become a teacher when I was younger, I don’t think I would have had the experiences in life to offer the students,” Weck said. 

However, the job is not without its challenges, which include preparing for class and grading work.  

“There’s a lot that has to be done in a day, and it seems like there’s never enough time to get it done,” Weck said. 

In addition to her responsibilities as a teacher, Weck also serves as the special education department head. The role comes with its own unique duties, such as individualized education plans, or IEPs, for each student.  

“We’re constantly talking about how to better the students’ experience through the special education department,” Weck said.  

The teachers with whom Weck works closely with in the special education department value her contributions. Ms. Deborah Orr, who teaches alongside Weck in the special education department’s science branch, has gotten to know Weck’s personality throughout the years.  

“I admire her ability to serve as department head, science teacher, and special education case-holder, [while] still [having] time to be a great mom to her daughter,” Orr said. “She seamlessly helps to integrate the special education department with the rest of the academic departments.” 

As a teacher, Orr admires Weck’s dedication to her students. 

“Ms. Weck strives every day to teach her students the subject matter in a way that engages and helps them learn,” Orr said. “She is always looking for new techniques and innovative strategies to improve the learning experience.” 

Ms. Carol Tozzi, who worked as a paraprofessional with Weck from the time she began teaching eight years ago until she left to work for Dean Rusk Middle School, has fond memories of her time with Weck, particularly her unbiased treatment of students.  

“There was never any deviation; she never had any favorites, [and] she treated every one of [her students] equally, like they were the only student at Sequoyah,” Tozzi said. 

Junior Alexis Carver can attest to Weck’s dedication to her students.  

“My favorite thing about being a student of Ms. Weck is that she is a loving and easy-going teacher [who is] always willing to help when something goes wrong or when she sees you having trouble,” Carver said. 

Weck’s compassion towards her students was inspired by an impactful teacher from her own childhood. When Weck’s father died, her teacher played an important role in her life by bringing books to her house. 

Now, Weck’s kindness has affected her students in profound ways. Carver cites Weck as a source of inspiration for joining the Chick-fil-A Leadership academy and for her studying habits. 

“I want [Ms.Weck] to know that she has impacted me to do so much,” Carver said. “She has to be the best teacher I have ever had.” 

Working by her side, Tozzi can confirm Weck’s unceasing willingness to help her students. 

“I think her philosophy is just [that] every child counts,” Tozzi said. “No matter how much extra help they need, she’s there to make sure they get it.” 

Indeed, Weck enjoys teaching specifically because of the relationships she forms with the students.   

“Every [student] has different things to bring to the table,” Weck said. “I really enjoy getting to hear everybody’s perspective and just getting to know students.” 

Even with glowing impressions left on students and her fellow department workers, Weck was still surprised to receive the honor of Teacher of the Year, especially because she believes that there are other teachers who deserve the award. 

“I’m of course very, very happy about it. It’s always good to be recognized,” Weck said. 

Ten years ago, teaching was just a dream for Weck. Now that she is living that dream, she reflects back on her journey.  

“It took a lot of hard work to get where I am,” Weck said. “My job [has] been the best part of my life so far. I love what I do.” 

Ms. Tiffany Weck draws a diagram of the mitochondria to review with her fourth period biology students. Weck’s dedication to her students led her to receive this year’s Teacher of the Year award. Photo by Emily Hill