Lee Avenue teacher selected to be a Fulbright Fellow
There’s a common expression about teachers that is quoted in myriad ways, but always boils down to the same idea—teachers play one of the largest roles in inspiring children to achieve great things. Phillip Moshoyannis, a teacher at Lee Avenue School for 23 years and a professor of sociology at Nassau Community College, is the physical embodiment of this. Now his efforts to reinvigorate the world of teaching have earned him the honor of receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, part of which includes a three-week international experience fully funded by the U.S. Department of State.
Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is designed to allow individuals who represent diversity and achievement to travel to a different country to learn about new cultures and foster international partnerships. This year’s program received 477 applicants nationwide, out of which just 76 individuals were selected. Moshoyannis will be traveling with the Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) branch of Fulbright.
While this year’s program is sending its fellows to places like India, Indonesia, Senegal, Morocco and Colombia, Moshoyannis’ 16-person TGC cohort will be traveling to Peru to learn about global education. However, he noted that the program’s focus on a global education isn’t in an effort to standardize education on an international level, but rather to explore the ways schools around the world are educating their children.
“What [the TGC] wants to do is to look at areas geographically and to look at the people as having their own unique contributions to education,” he explained. “I think that education is something that can change in terms of the transformative nature of education, the students’ ideas about the world and their place in it.”
Allowing children to develop their ideas and connect with the world around them is something Moshoyannis places great emphasis on. He believes the younger generation “sees the world as a place that can vastly improve” and knows they have the power to make a change now, rather than waiting until they’re older. His confidence in the children he teaches has not gone unnoticed. During three Hicksville High School graduation ceremonies, seniors who learned from Moshoyannis during their time at Lee Avenue selected him as the teacher who most influenced his students.
“I think that teachers are probably the most important people in a society because they give others the opportunity to be who they are and to express what they want to do,” Moshoyannis said of his profession. “A really good teacher can push somebody to look at the world and do things that they wouldn’t otherwise want to do or might not think that they have the talent to do.”
As part of his selection for the prestigious program, Moshoyannis took part in a 10-week online course and traveled to Washington D.C. for the Global Education Symposium to learn about what Peruvian life is like and to understand the history of their school system. The symposium also had previous Fulbright Fellows walk this year’s participants through what a typical journey would look like. During his three-week stay from June 18 through July 4, one week will have Moshoyannis co-teaching in a classroom.
“We’ll be co-teaching for about a week and learning about the school system, meeting with administrators and most important, learning about the students there and what they think is important in terms of their education,” Moshoyannis said. “And also, what I can bring back to our American students here in my classrooms.”
Once arriving in Peru’s capital, Lima, Moshoyannis’ cohort will be broken down into smaller groups and sent out to different cities across the country. Aware of the incredible selectivity of the program, he said those selected expressed their ability to bring back a global experience to their own community and implement the skills their students need to interact on global scale. For Moshoyannis, he wants his students to change the world.
“I think one of the things that I took from it is that this global education focus allows the students in my class to get the skills that are necessary in order to not only compete with their counterparts years down the road, but also to work cooperatively with them for projects and get new ideas and try to change the world in some aspect,” he said.
A believer that there is always room for improvement and that students are an asset to change, Moshoyannis makes sure that he imparts on both his Lee Avenue and NCC students that they should never close their minds to viewing things in a new light.
“As long as I can change myself and one other person, I really feel that I can change the world,” he said. “I try to do things where I see to improve myself and maybe somebody else as well.”