Teacher of the Month: Leonard Dermont


Photo by Ela Jalil.

WCHS Art History and Ceramic Sculpture teacher Leonard Dermont is the November 2021 TOTM, an award he earned through his engaging lessons and close connections with students.

By Ela Jalil, Online Editor-in-Chief

After over 30 years of teaching, and 20 of them at WCHS, Art History and Ceramic Sculpture teacher Leonard Dermont has finally received the coveted Teacher of the Month award. His devotion to art and teaching combined with his great sense of humor allows him to connect with students and pass on the love of art beyond the classroom. 

Beginning as a fine arts major at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, he focused on painting,  eventually switching his attention to sculpture. He then realized that teaching art as well as doing art on the side would be a fulfilling career, so he switched to majoring in Art Education at Marywood. He also holds a masters in Art Education from George Washington University. Dermont has been teaching in MCPS for 28 years, and has been at WCHS since 2001. Previously teaching at middle schools, Dermont has found that he enjoys teaching at the high school level the most because of his students. 

“I think the students are excellent, the students are a lot of fun. They are really motivated, and are very creative,” Dermont said. “And mostly they are just very nice young people, they are very easy to talk to, and they are very respectful, and they seem genuinely interested in what is going on in your world as well as you’re interested in what is going on in their world.”

Dermont is able to take his knowledge of art history and his skills with sculpture and share them with interested WCHS students. Dermont enjoys seeing his impact beyond the classroom, where former students continue to stay in contact with him about their experiences in the art world, and how they have used what they learned in his class. 

“I love receiving emails from students, that even if they do not go on to become art historians or curators, I like it when I see students really starting to appreciate the world around them and travel,” Dermont said. “That’s what I love about it, seeing kids pursue it on their own rather than just in the classroom.”

Dermont’s students thrive on the energy that he brings to the classroom and how he strives to make every lesson interesting. WCHS senior Evangelia Zoulis has had Dermont for four years, and appreciates the care that he has for teaching as well as his students. 

“Mr. Dermont’s passion translates into his teachings by making every lesson more engaging and exciting,” Zoulis said. “He never fails to have an interesting class period, and the environment that Mr. Dermont creates in his classroom allows for the best type of learning to occur.”

Outside of WCHS, Dermont is an avid runner, running about 25 miles a week and has participated in three marathons. He also enjoys sculpting, often working in his studio in his weekend home in West Virginia. Most of all, Dermont takes great joy in traveling, with some of his most memorable visits being his yearly visits to France, Sarajevo after the war, Cuba and Istanbul. 

“My biggest passion is traveling, I love to travel. I like to travel more to urban areas opposed to areas of natural beauty, as I’m not that much of a hiker,” Dermont said. “I would rather go visit different cities throughout the world, and experience (not burying myself in a museum all day), but experiencing the city as it is.”

Dermont plans on retiring next year, and dividing his time between France, West Virginia, and Miami with his partner. He is looking into getting a masters in Museum Studies, and doing freelance work with museums. During his remaining time at WCHS, Dermont will continue to share his passion for art with his students, as well as create an open and fun environment to learn. 

“I really love what I do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I mean there are other careers that obviously pay more and things like that, but this job is very rewarding and very challenging,” Dermont said. “I’m able to share what I know and love about art with students, which I couldn’t really do with other [fields]”