Ms. Pileggi Motivates Her Students to Become Readers

Teacher Feature


Meredith Pileggi with her husband Alex and children (from left) Masin, Alessandro, and Giovanni.

Valery Alcala Serafin, Staff Writer

You might know Ms. Pileggi by hearing her teach when you pass by room 354 near stairway 4. She is not only a 10th-grade English teacher but the head of the English department and Graduation Coordinator. She’s been teaching for 13 years now, has three children named Masin, Alessandro, and Giovanni, and also has been married for 11 years. 

A Norristown graduate herself, Meredith Pileggi has since earned three collegiate degrees: a bachelor’s in secondary education from Temple University, a master’s in secondary education from LaSalle University, and another master’s degree in English from Southern New Hampshire University. 

While in her first few years of college, Pileggi wanted to get a business degree, but the thought of sitting in an office all day wasn’t for her. Like many young adults, she didn’t know what she was going to do in life. She then switched to studying liberal arts and, seeing that there are some career paths that can be fulfilled with that degree, her academic advisor suggested teaching, which fit her personality perfectly.

As a dancer and cheerleader my entire life, I always loved performing in front of large groups of people and the classroom quickly became my stage,” said Pileggi. “I loved working with people and helping them have that ‘ah ha!’ moment that comes with learning.”

When earning her degree in education, she had a hard time deciding between English and History, since they’re both closely related. She decided to choose English because “reading and interpreting the motives and intricacies of people have always come naturally” to her.

“Getting lost in a book and escaping from reality in the pages of a novel has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was a child,” said Pileggi. “All literature, to me, is an exploration of the quirks of human nature.” 

After getting her degrees in education, she came back to Norristown to give back to her school which gave so much to her. 

One of Pileggi’s many strengths is building relationships with her students. She doesn’t mind if they like her or not, but she does want them to know that they are supported and can come to her if they have any concerns. “I have very high expectations and require my students to do hard work,” she said. “I hold them accountable. I let them make mistakes. I let them fix their mistakes.” She said she too has good days and “days without caffeine” (bad days) when she’s loud and sarcastic and imperfect. 

Pileggi stays motivated by making sure she handles work at school and makes time for her family at home so the two won’t get out of hand.  

“E-mails will always be there, phone calls will still be made, and lesson plans in need of editing, but none of that is as important as your mental health,” she said. “I make sure to take a step, or two back from teaching when I leave at the end of the day to make room for the things I love.”

This was not always the case. When she first started teaching, she felt she needed to prove to herself and everyone else that she could do everything without any help.  “When I had my daughter five years into my career, I rearranged my priorities,” she said. “I encourage all teachers to turn off the job when they leave at the end of the day.”  

Pileggi is proud of what she has accomplished at Norristown. She knows not everyone will love reading but if she can get students to realize that their experience with reading doesn’t have to be perfect, then that’s a big win for her. She keeps a folder of notes from students that tell her how much of an impact she has had, and she is moved most by the ones that say ‘I used to hate reading until I had your class.’ 

“English and reading don’t have to be boring,” Pileggi stated. “You just have to find what’s interesting and the rest will come naturally.”