Drama teacher named 2023 Teacher of the Year


Paulina Grzelczak, NFA Red & White Reporter

NFA’s drama teacher, Phil Trostler was named “Teacher of the Year ” for the 2022-2023 school year. The award was announced during the faculty and staff Opening Day meeting in August of 2022.

Before becoming a teacher at NFA, Trostler was an actor and a tour guide in Los Angeles.“Luckily I was at a time of my life where I had an opportunity to move back here (CT).” 

Trostler says, “I realized that I needed to go into something that was going to allow me to do something focused on other people rather than myself.” That “something” happened to be teaching. Apart from being ‘passionate’ and “funny,” “I know what I want, but I’m also able to go with the flow. This is my room, my class, and we are going to do stuff and I’m going to lead us there”. 

NFA Lower Grace Benton was part of Trostler’s Acting 1 and 2 class, and commented that  Trostler is “supportive and very present for all his students”. She continues by saying that “Trostler keeps class ‘lighthearted’, and that being part of Trostler’s class requires confidence.”

Students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone while on stage. This is a difficult task for some, however Trostler says he likes “to see students as individuals and he is very conscious about giving [students] opportunities to build up to being on stage, letting them have me as a teacher to them rather than just getting this very generic Mr. Trostler”. Being Teacher of the Year means many things to Trostler. Receiving the nomination and award presents that, “I’m doing something right. It’s a very humbling award to get”.

Trostler recalled that on his first day as a teacher at NFA, Social Studies teacher Sarah  Burchman received the Teacher of the Year award. He says, “It was really nice to feel that warmth and everyone was so excited for her”.

Because there are many teachers he says,  “I never thought I would get it, ever”. It (teaching) has been a long process and I didn’t think of myself as a teacher for a while”.

Being Teacher of the Year is a very special award that comes with patience, empathy and collaboration, and earning that title showed Trostler that, “I made the right choice and this is what I should have been doing.”