March 12, 2021
Two named Promising Practitioners
Two Upper St. Clair middle school faculty members were recently honored with the Promising Practitioners Award from the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education (PAMLE). Tonia Autieri, school counselor at Boyce Middle School, and Eliza Luxbacher, resource teacher at Boyce and special education teacher at Fort Couch Middle School, were recognized during the PAMLE Virtual State Conference 2021, held Feb. 27-28.
According to PAMLE’s website, the Promising Practitioners Award “is presented to teachers who are just beginning their middle school careers. These beginning teachers have made a positive impact on both their school and community. They incorporate effective middle level practices in their everyday teaching.”
Ms. Autieri and Ms. Luxbacher were nominated for the award by Dr. Christine Mussomeli, Boyce Middle School assistant principal, and Erin Peterson, Fort Couch Middle School assistant principal.
“Tonia and Eliza were both nominated for their amazing ability to connect with middle level learners; work in partnership with students, families, staff, and community; and their exceptional work ethic,” Dr. Mussomeli said. “They embody the ideals of our district to customize learning and nurture potential. They are truly gifted educators.”
Ms. Autieri is in her third year as a school counselor at Boyce Middle School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management/marketing from Robert Morris University and a master’s degree in education/school counseling from Duquesne University.
“I love working at the middle school level because the kids are so much fun and I enjoy being a part of their middle school experience. Watching the kids move toward becoming their authentic selves is truly a privilege,” Ms. Autieri said. “Boyce has been such an amazing learning experience and positive place to work! I work with amazing people who help make me a better counselor each day.
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Luxbacher holds a bachelor’s degree in applied developmental psychology and a master’s degree in elementary and special education. She is an Upper St. Clair High School graduate and joined the district’s middle school faculty in August 2020.
“Middle schoolers are constantly in a state of becoming - shaping their identities and investigating what makes them who they uniquely are. I love learning about other people and discovering what makes them tick, and I love that middle schoolers allow me to play an active role in their self-development and exploration,” Ms. Luxbacher said. “Most notably, I am thankful to work alongside empowered teammates who celebrate small progress, who see students as capable of achieving all things, and who appreciate students (and all people!) for what makes them, them.”
Ms. Autieri and Ms. Luxbacher join three other Boyce Middle School teachers who were honored with the Promising Practitioners Award in previous years – Kelly Pascarella, Amy Homer and Morgan Olsen.
PAMLE is the leading advocate for middle level education in Pennsylvania, promoting and enhancing the role of middle level education by promoting best instructional practices for young adolescents.
During the two-day PAMLE conference, Mrs. Peterson was also recognized with the Leonard R. Ference Outstanding Administrator Award. Dr. Mussomeli is currently serving a two-year term as president for the West Region of PAMLE and played a leadership role in organizing the state-wide conference.