2018 “Fostering Our Future” Winners
1st grade teacher
Grande reserve elementary school
“Jennifer has taken a child, who has additional challenges to overcome as compared to his peers, and shown him so much patience, love and understanding that he has blossomed. The classroom expectations that he must meet are now achievable. Not only that, but he has come to love school and looks forward to the time he spends there. It is with all sincerity that I know that the growth my child has shown would not have come about if he ended up in a classroom other than Jennifer’s. She has made all of the difference. I believe she accomplished these things through her love of teaching, her sincere enjoyment of the students in her care, and her unrelenting willingness to give every child in her class exactly what they need as individuals to succeed. She has earned the eternal gratitude of this mother of five and more importantly, the unconditional love of a six-year-old boy who will take everything that she has taught him and continue to succeed.”
special education teacher
Bristol bay elementary school
In just three short years, Katie Teichman has changed the approach to special education services. She created a special education program called Resource 2.0, which focuses on executive functioning. The skills taught in this course are life-long skills that are critical for success in and out of the classroom. In addition, she planned and implemented a Disability Awareness Week. This provided students with insights into the world of disabilities, and the affect those disabilities have on those individuals. Her work with students is motivating, inspiring, and reflective of a positive culture of learning. At times, it is easy to forget that Katie is a novice educator because of her composure, her innovative ideas, and her communication skills. She is a truly passionate about education and is devoted to understanding and supporting her students, no matter how much time is needed to help them.
physical education teacher
Yorkville middle school
Chad Martin is dedicated and committed to the Yorkville community through many different avenues, including as a student-centered teacher, leader, and coach. Chad is the team leader at YMS for his department, as well as the head track coach and assistant cross country coach, which says how much he is dedicated to staying active and inspiring others to become active. Chad cares about everyone and he motivates students in their own way. He will push all students to do their best. Chad emphasizes that building relationships with students is essential to the students’ success. Not only is he a motivational teacher and a good communicator, but he is also friendly and he knows how to make learning fun. He focuses on the whole student, not just their body and movement. Students learn how to overcome adversity through persistence, and Chad never gives up on them.
district administration center
Cathy Anderson is ethical, kind, funny, and the ultimate professional. She is trustworthy and confidential, allowing others to confide in her for advice and guidance. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to each of the schools and at the district level. Cathy always exceeds expectations while making her work look effortless. She places others before herself, treats people with kindness and respect, and she takes great pride in her work. In many places, she would be known as the glue that keeps the work environment together. However, in District 115, she is the network: she connects everyone; serves as an incredible database of background information, past practice, and current happenings; and thrives on a need to constantly learn and evolve. Most importantly, she does all this while always having a smile on her face.
partner of the year
Anthony Hansen has served the district in a number of capacities. Professionally, the graphic design work he does for the district is both engaging and consistent with the district’s branding. He always meets his deadlines, which often includes working nights and weekends. His work on the district’s strategic plan logos and documents helped the school district win the top award in the state for school communications. His volunteer efforts include serving as a PTO president and a member of the Watch Dog program, in which male role models volunteer in the school. He was also a member of the Parent- Teacher Organization Council and the Citizen’s Advisory Council. Anthony regularly shows an ability to lead, to work well with others, to discuss opportunities for improvement respectfully and thoughtfully, and to promote public education and the district’s efforts.
initiative of the year
julie hymers & nicole johnson
circle center grade school makerspace
Julie Hymers and Nicole Johnson developed a Makerspace, a DIY space were students can gather to create, invent, and learn. The project fostered a wonderful environment for students to explore, collaborate, create, use critical thinking skills, and communicate with other students with whom they don’t typically interact. When asked to create this space, the teachers reviewed blogs, library sites, and professional articles, and reached out to other librarians across the nation for advice. They took the time to find out what interested the students and worked to create challenges that promoted the school’s growth mindset initiative. Kids are excited to come to the library and try out the new Makerspace challenges. They continue to solicit student feedback to improve the Makerspace. We are thankful that Julie and Nicole took a risk to do something different for students.
spirit of the fox
Jorge Ayala is a staple at district and school events. As part of the Watch Dog program, he helps students feel safe at school. Jorge has led the Bilingual Parent Advisory Council as its president since its inception. On BPAC, he develops events to bring together general education students with students in the bilingual program. He also represents BPAC on the PTO Council. Jorge serves as an officer on the district’s Citizen’s Advisory Council and participates on multiple subcommittees. At meetings, he serves as a calming force, who addresses issues thoughtfully, respectfully, and empathically. Jorge donates hundreds of hours outside of meetings to help the district enhance its communication efforts, including translating district documents. Jorge serves as a quiet voice of reason and experience when discussing district topics, and is in a constant drive to make the district the best it can be.