He was Teacher of the Year at Oviedo High, and now Will Furiosi will represent the entire county as the top teacher in the district
William “Will” Furiosi, the Seminole district’s newly crowned Countywide Teacher of the Year (TOTY), is much more than just a science teacher at Oviedo High School. He is a coach, a mentor, and a motivator. Will is a teacher’s teacher, admired by the students he leads on a daily basis.
Now in his seventh year of teaching – all at Oviedo High School – the man of many hats fought off nerves as a Countywide TOTY finalist during Seminole County’s big Teacher of the Year gala in February, the event at which the district’s big winner is announced.
“I was relieved,” says the 29-year-old, describing his initial emotion when his name was announced from the podium. “I am surprised that I convinced myself to enjoy the moment. I was so nervous. But everyone has been so supportive.”
Presented by The Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools, the gala honored 12 semi-finalists and three finalists prior to declaring Will as the teacher who will represent the district throughout the State of Florida for the next year (and he will compete for Florida Teacher of the Year honors, too).
Will had been anxious about this moment ever since November when he was named the county’s top high-school teacher. Now he has to suppress those nerves again while awaiting the list of state finalists this May. The Florida TOTY will be unveiled at another gala in July.
Married to fellow OHS teacher Jessica Ortega in 2016, Will received his undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Central Florida, with a minor in coaching. He followed that up with a master’s degree in teacher education – chemistry from UCF, as well.
Will’s accomplishments and knack for being an educator are the epitome of the Countywide TOTY award. In just his second year of teaching, Will took over the school’s AP Biology and Experimental Science program and turned it into one of the best in the nation.
“My first AP Biology class had a 96-percent pass rate [on the AP exam],” he says. “Next, I taught two classes with 55 students, and we saw an 89-percent pass rate, 30 percent higher than the national average. The kids are very interested in STEM. It is amazing what they can do.”
But it’s not only through the sciences that Will connects with students. A competitive ultimate frisbee player at UCF, he spent three years as the inaugural head coach of Oviedo High’s ultimate frisbee team, the Oviedo Roar. After getting the program off the ground, Will continues to support the team as a sponsor.
He has since taken over as the boys’ and girls’ tennis coach at OHS. Under Will’s leadership, the girls’ team just earned its first postseason berth in more than two decades.
Being named Seminole’s Countywide TOTY has tangible rewards, as well. Will received a TOTY ring, an annual pass to Walt Disney World for him and his immediate family, $1,000 from the Foundation for SCPS, and a one-year lease on a new car.
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Will has his eye on a 2020 Buick Enclave, quite fitting for a man who has fashioned his own successful enclave among students and staff on the campus of Oviedo High.