Lakeview Academy BCSD 2020 Teacher of the Year
Ryan Maraziti is not only the Teacher of the Year for Lakeview Academy , but he also was named the 2020 Teacher of the Year for the Baldwin County School District . His success comes from a mindset that anything is possible and that true growth comes only when you are challenged to step outside of your comfort zone .
According to Maraziti , in any given moment , a person has two options to consider--either step forward into growth or stay in place of familiar security and safety . In his early life , Maraziti said he chose to stay put in a blanket of safety , but it wasn ’ t until he chose to venture out of his comfort zone that his true passion was found .
“ Most of my early life was spent retracting to the shade of certainty and security , despite the urge to live free of the insecurities that had shadowed me . I think we all have moments in time that define us , and unless we truly burn with a desire for or burn from the pain , we may never step outside of the comfort zone that has kept us from truly realizing how great we can be . That was me up until I made the decision to leave home in the small state of Rhode Island at the age of seventeen to pursue a life outside of the box of mediocrity that had been modeled for me .”
As he set out to find his own path into an unknown future , a quote he read in a book served as his driving force to keep moving forward .
“ I once read in a book , ‘ Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness .’ That quote resonates with truth as I reflect upon the life I lived and the life I had soon discovered I could live ,” said Maraziti . What does all of this have to do with influencing his decision to become a teacher ? Everything he says .
“ The point I ’ m making is that we don ’ t know whose destiny lies on the other side of our obedience , and for me , that decision to leave the confines of my comfort zone propelled me into my growth zone . I quickly learned there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone . Growth requires change .”
The decision to step outside of his comfort zone is the driving force behind Maraziti ’ s philosophy of teaching . He strives to get his students to see beyond the horizons of their own personal comfort zone and to face any fears about change with courage and to embrace the idea that personal growth , although scary , is necessary to move ahead to bigger and greater destinations in life .
“ In some regards , I hope to provide stability in a current of constant change and uncertainty that young people strive to navigate on a daily basis . These currents may be homelife , relationships , self-image , social acceptance , or academic performance . Regardless of the belief that has or has not been spoken into these areas of their lives , I work to create an expectation of greatness for each student ,” he said .
Maraziti encourages his students to believe in themselves , despite the changes that are going on around them and always to remember the potential for greatness is in each and every one of them .
“ We all want to be seen as having the potential for greatness , and we tend to gravitate to the true north of our deepest desires . I think that ’ s a major reason I ’ ve been able to impact students both in and outside the classroom . I have been fortunate to have taught long enough to witness the progression of many students from my classroom in fifth grade to the weight room in high school as their strength coach .”
Maraziti ’ s teaching philosophy simply put is that growth is a choice , and it must be intentional .
“ The impact of my teaching is a reflection of the idea that each student is growing , and my goal is to nurture a desire for continued growth by continually expecting their best . When students know someone believes in them , it ’ s a reason to show up each day . It ’ s those reasons , not their grades , that keep them from giving up . Those reasons will elevate the price they are willing to pay and strengthen their will to win - in all areas of life . The stronger their will to win is - the less likely they are to sell it . Greatness will extract a price from us , and for some , the price is too high . Our dreams will have a price . I want my students to negotiate that price in advance , to know what their dreams are worth long before it ever gets tested . In the end , their dreams mirror their selfworth - and I don ’ t ever want them to negotiate their worth . They all have seeds of greatness inside them . It ’ s my goal to extract that greatness .”
www . baldwincountyschoolsga . org BALDWIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT • Fall 2020 • 13