Top Teachers of Fairfield Living

We talked to the Top Teachers and the Top Teens who nominated them


Nilda Irizarry: AP American Studies at Fairfield Warde

Nominated by: Lauren Lopes


How she became a teacher
At the suggestion of her high school English teacher, Irizarry began tutoring an illiterate teen in reading. “By the end of the year [she] read with an 80% fluency, and I felt really proud,” says Irizarry, “If I opened her eyes, I could do it for others.”

Favorite part of being a teacher
“Seeing the students come back,” she says, “You never know who you inspire.”

Standout teaching moment
When Irizarry accompanied a small group of students on a trip to DC; she couldn’t help but sit back and smile when she heard them discussing health care reform- without being prompted. “They took the skills and really engaged with the world around them,” she tells us.

Why Lauren nominated her
“Everything that you do in the class pays off,” explains Lopes, “When you look at your work from the beginning of the year to the end of the year it looks like two different people wrote it.”


Anthony Canuel: Chemistry at Fairfield Prep

Nominated by: Tim Kiernan


On almost becoming a doctor
During his interview for Georgetown’s medical school, Canuel’s interviewer asked him if he really wanted to become a doctor. “He told me I had to answer the last question honestly, and I said no I really want to be a teacher,” Canuel tells us.

On his 35 year teaching career coming to an end
“The last class was bittersweet,” he says, “You can’t do something for 35 years and not miss it.”

Why he chose to teach chemistry
According to Canuel, most people wince when they learn that he’s a chemistry teacher. “Chemistry is not easy, and you live for the moments when you see a light bulb go off [because] the kid really gets it.”

Three words Tim used to describe Mr. Canuel
Friendly, compassionate and fair

Why Tim choose compassionate
“If you did badly, but he knew you could do better, he would help you out,” Kiernan says.


Christy Newsom: Voice coach at Bridgeport Theatre Company

Nominated by: Emma LaPlace


On her students
“I’ve been really lucky to have a wide variety of students,” Newsom tells us, “As a teacher it’s nice to have a balance of those who love it and who do it professionally.” 

What it’s like when her students get a role
According to Newsom, when she learns that a student books a role, she gets the same feeling she gets when she books a role. “I’m so happy and so proud,” she says.

On learning that Emma was a Top Teen To Watch
“I wasn’t surprised because she commits herself 100 percent to what she does,” says Newsom, “She has a very bright future ahead of her.”

Why Emma nominated her
“She’s not afraid to tell you something that you can improve on,” LaPlace explains, “you can see your improvement, and they don’t stop giving you things to improve on.”

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