PEOPLE’s 2014 Sexiest Teacher Alive is using his voice to make a different inside and outside of the classroom.
Nick Ferroni, a Social Studies teacher at Union High School in Union, New Jersey, stopped by to chat with PEOPLE NOW about the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, which kicks off May 8. He also dished on his coveted title and his Twitter flirtation with SNL star Leslie Jones.
When it comes to how his students feel about his title of Sexiest Teacher Alive, Ferroni said: “It’s not awkward because on the first day of school, I share every awkward photo! They know very quickly I don’t take myself very seriously.
“I tell them every awkward story, every time a girl dumped me.”
He also shared that his fellow teachers often joke with him and say “they’re coming for” the title.
So, is the Sexiest Teacher Alive still single? “Yes, I definitely am,” said Ferroni, who joked that he has the ultimate pick-up line: “I have 150 kids, that turns them off right there!”
He also opened up about his recent Twitter flirtation with SNL’s Leslie Jones after she performed in a sketch featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda as a substitute teacher.
“I am very honored. She’s an amazing woman,” he said. “I did offer [to take her out], but she didn’t respond!”
Ferroni is also speaking out in support of Teacher Appreciate Week — and how teachers should be honored throughout the year.
“Every teacher is a celebrity to their students,” he said. “I just want to celebrate teachers all year round.”
Ferroni recently gave some deserving teachers a celebrity-worthy makeover and photo shoot. The best part? All the participants involved in the project — from the photographer to the makeup artists (and NFL star Isa Abdul-Quddus!) — are former students.
“There are so many amazing teachers out there who give their hearts, souls, knowledge and money to their students every single day,” Ferroni told PEOPLE. “Teachers are the only people who have dedicated their lives to the success and happiness of other people’s children.”
And he’s hoping his “Teacher Appreciation 365” campaign will help pass a teacher bill.
“I am also going to work on a bill to raise the amount of money that teachers can write off for school supplies on their taxes from $250 to at least $1,000, considering that the average teacher spends between $900-$1,100 on school supplies every year.”