Brigette Trusal: PAHS Teacher of the Year

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Business was a part of Brigette Trusal's family while she was growing up, but it wasn't quite the path she took in life.

Trusal, who was named The Punxsutawney Spirit's “Teacher of the Year” for the high school Monday, said her father was a financial advisor, "so I grew up with it. He would read the paper to find and research companies for stocks."

He imparted financial responsibility to his daughter at a young age.
"Even my allowance, when I was little, I had to keep a book on it," she said, adding she at least momentarily contemplated a career in the business world.

But, she said, "I wasn't pulled that way. I just had a really strong feeling about teaching."

That was thanks to an accounting teacher she had as a student at Indiana Area Senior High School.

"I fell in love with it," Trusal said about her business courses. "She pushed me toward it, and that boosted everything at that age."

Trusal has taught business education at PAHS for 12 years. Before that, she earned her business degree and a master's degree in information technology and workforce development, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

While the business world has changed in terms of technology, markets and economies, one thing has not changed: Accountability, although there are times Trusal believes that it has, which is why accountability is something she stresses in her classes.

"It's like, you never had to (teach it) before" because it was in the books, she said. "I have to talk about it more and more. But I have really good kids this year. Once that's established, that they have to hand in their work on time, then everything's fine."

In addition to teaching, this year, Trusal became a co-advisor for the school's SADD Club, a busy group behind events such as the mock crash and the recent Project Sticker Shock.

She co-advises the group with Bridget States.

"I'm glad I did it," Trusal said. "I get to know more kids."

At home, Trusal and her husband, Brad, are the parents of two children, Lincoln, seven, and Regan, six, who are both active in baseball, soccer and hockey.

"That's all we do," she said of her children's activities.

Like other “Teacher of the Year” recipients, Trusal said she was surprised to be chosen.

"I thought, 'Who's joking?'" she said. "I don't even know what to say, besides thank you, and it does make me feel good. It's a new motivation. I'm just surprised. I'm happy."