Teacher of the Year

Congratulations Leigh Connole!

2021 Semi-Finalist
Canton High School, Canton

Learn More About Leigh

Leigh Connole has always considered herself someone who thrives on her interactions with others, someone who shows a genuine curiosity in others which makes her excited to hear their individual stories. It is these interactions that lead to meaningful relationships- the driving force of her teaching. 

At 21 years old, Connole began her career at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, located in Falls Village. Connole spent seven years at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, and she credits her time spent collaborating with and learning from passionate colleagues as important in the establishment of her teacher identity.

Connole has since relocated to Canton High School where she is in her 15th year of teaching. She considers herself to be a lifelong learner, and she uses that passion as a leader and innovator in her classroom and during her collaboration with colleagues. Since coming to Canton, she has worked to reform her teaching and the high school ELA curriculum, focusing specifically on representation with BIPOC texts, elimination of “single story” narratives, and examination of anti-bias and anti-racist practices. In her 10th and 11th grade classes, Connole encourages students to use their voices to

advocate for themselves and others, to tell their distinctively unique stories, and to interrogate systems, situations, and people that perpetuate societal inequities.

Outside of the classroom, Connole has served as co-advisor to the Canton High School class of 2018 and as advisor to Canton Student Council; both roles allow her to engage with members of the school and local communities and focus on building partnerships between all stakeholders.

Currently, she serves as advisor of the Collins Chapter of the National Honor Society and as co-advisor to We Speak, a discussion-based club that provides a brave space for students to discuss real issues relating to identity, culture, gender, and class.

Became first Native American tribe in the US to own a professional sports team
Fidelia Fielding
The last fluent speaker of the Mohegan language
Council of Elders