2011-12 Teacher of the Year - Mrs. Mandy Galante
Academy of Information Technology (AOIT) and superstar cyber defense teacher Mandy Galante is RBR’s Teacher of the year.
Mandy has maintained phenomenal relationships with her students who arrange their schedule so they can have Mrs. Galante year after year. For the past ten years, she has served as their mentor instilling them with a passion and love for the field of technology while empowering them to take ownership of their classes and activities. For instance, The CyberPatriot competition was discovered by one of her students, and quickly adopted by Mrs. Galante as a major project and goal.
She states, “I encourage my students by giving them an experience that makes their lesson more meaningful.” She adds, “I believe that students take ownership when there is an environment for the concepts to be discovered rather than studied.”
Her outstanding tutelage has resulted in multiple regional and national awards for her students, who she affectionately refers to as “My Kids.” Mandy’s kids have won the National CyberPatriot Defense competition in 2011 and finished as semi- finalists in 2012. She was subsequently named NJ’s Teacher of the Year by the Air Force Association, who sponsors the National CyberPatriot Competition. This year, Mandy’s kids took first place in the national NYU-Polytechnic High School CyberForensic Competitions and the State Championship in the Cyberfoundations High School Competition. In most instances, the RBR students are competing against magnet technology schools throughout the country. For the past three years, her students have taken the top three NJ winner prizes in multiple categories in the Future Business Leaders of America technology competitions.
Mandy Galante came to teaching in mid-life, after having enjoyed four other careers. As a Georgetown University graduate, she was among the first business women on Wall Street. She traded in a lucrative career then for her most important career of all, that of Mom to her three children. A third career of parent volunteerism followed as she served as Brownie and Girl Scout Leader, RBR PTO and Booster club volunteer, Soccer coach, and Little Silver Board of Education member for 13 years.
Her fourth career began when she went to work as a network administrator for a private school. That led to the teaching job at RBR, although she had to ask her children’s permission first if it was okay to teach in their school.
She has energized and built the cyber security part of the AOIT curriculum and credits administration for always supporting her and her endeavors. “My fellow AOIT teachers have been great to brainstorm with about ways to improve our programs. But that support goes beyond our department as I have found the RBR community as a whole to be incredibly giving – which makes it possible to take risk and try new things to benefit our students.”
She is currently enrolled in the University of Maryland’s master program for a degree in Cybersecurity and holds CompTIA certifications in A+, Network+ and Security+.
She comments on what she thinks is her greatest contribution, “My students are learning from a teacher who loves her subject and is excited to be here everyday to share it with them. I consider my greatest accomplishment in education to be those times in my classroom when my students and I find that “aha” learning moment. For a teacher, it just doesn’t get any better than that.”