Alyssa Pantilieris, Special Education Teacher from UFT
* PS/MS 15 Institute of Environmental Learning, the Bronx
Alyssa Pantilieris was affectionately called “Ms. P” by students and colleagues. As she approached her 20th year as a special education teacher, she had established her reputation as a staunch advocate for her students in and out of the classroom.
“Ms. P would buy the kids lunch, schedule outings for them and was a mother figure in their time of need,” recalled Chapter Leader Shawanda Weems. “When she was a classroom teacher, she started a book club to enable her 5th-grade students to dive into a text and see the beauty of words.”
Alyssa, 45, died on April 5.
During her career, Alyssa progressed from classroom teacher to IEP teacher/SETTS provider to empower students to reach their full potential, Weems said.
“Ms. P worked closely with families, speaking with them in their native tongue (she spoke Spanish, Danish and Greek), and sought additional resources and services for their children,” Weems said. “The parents of her students were grateful for her assistance and often called her just to say hello, and former students would come back to see her and let her know how they were doing.”
One former student, who is now in college, said, “Ms. P was consistent as a teacher and a mother figure. She had a daughter of her own but looked out for her students. She connected to us on a personal level and let us know that we would be OK as we dealt with the travails that life presented us with.”
Alyssa loved to cook and would often share her dishes with colleagues. Reading was her passion, and she would encourage the same passion in her students by ordering books from the Scholastic Book Club and making sure they had good reading choices. She also tutored after school, and she rescued animals; she had three cats. Alyssa, who lived in Harrison, New York, taught Sunday school at Mamaroneck United Methodist Church.
Alyssa is survived by her daughter, Emily, 19; her mother, Carolyn Pantilieris Myers, and stepfather, Philip Myers; her brother, Tsao Pantilieris, and his wife, Hope; her niece, Evelyn Pantilieris; and her stepsister, Kristine D’Amato, and her husband, Albert.
Read more on Alyssa at Hudson Valley 360.
Carolyn Pantilieris Myers is making a memory book for Alyssa’s daughter.
Please send your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org.