- For the 43rd annual Educator of the Year ceremony, 41 nominees will be honored in an Olympics-themed event on May 4 at the Q Center in St. Charles. Follow the excitement on social media using #EOTY43 and #leadassistinspire. Tickets for the event can be purchased by contacting your local school district office.
Welcome to Week 3 of #EOTY43! The recent snow may make it feel like it is still February, but the Educator of the Year Awards is ready to warm your heart in less than three weeks. May 4 is fast approaching, so make sure you contact your local school district office for tickets to the event.
Below you will find nominees from East Aurora 131 and District 300 — teachers, administrators and support staff who have been nominated and recognized as leaders in their education-related fields by their students, colleagues, and supervisors.
A preschool teacher has to be “high energy,” but for Maria Roman, energy is a loop. Her students inspire her teaching, which fuels her energy, which she returns to her students.
Roman teaches at East Aurora’s Early Childhood Center and has spent a majority of her 16 years working with preschoolers. She comes to school each day knowing that her work can have a positive affect on the rest of their lives.
“What they get in these years in the basis for future learning and future success,” she said. “To me, it is so important to have an impact in their early years and set them off for future success.”
If you follow him on Twitter, you can easily see Fred Heid being an active participant in online conversations with students in District 300.
Building a strong community and relationships with students, staff, parents, and community members is one of the driving passions he has in his role.
Heid is in his fourth year as superintendent of District 300 and has been involved in education for 19 years. The cold winters didn’t stop this Florida transplant from coming to Illinois, where he’s able to create an environment that ensures students are college and career ready upon graduation.
“At the end of the day, what matters most is that relationship and interaction between an adult and a child, and that’s what we’re here to support,“ Heid said. “The better we do that and the better we can nature those positive interactions, the better our students and community will do.“
What gets you excited about going to work or school each day? When asked that question, Maya Raab said she just loves seeing her students’ natural curiosity.
Raab is a special education science teacher at East Aurora High School, where she has kindled students’ curiosity for nine years.
“In many cases, I’m not working on keeping the fire burning but focusing on getting that spark re-lit,” Raab said. “I’m meeting my students where they are and getting them excited about the curriculum.”
When asked to share some of her insights on teaching, Beth Harner talked about how important it is to collaborate with parents to prepare students for life after school.
Harner has been teaching for 22 years and is a self-contained special education teacher at Dundee Middle School in District 300. One of her passions is providing opportunities for her students to give back to the community through a variety of service projects.
“I see a real need for kids to be able to make the transition from life inside of a school to being a contributing member of society,” she said. “I want to prepare my students to be successful in the workplace and successful socially, as well.”
You frequently hear stories about how your workplace is your second home, but for Saul Olivas, his workplace seems to be his first home. He loves to spend his time in the building, making it a safe and loving environment for the students.
Olivas is a bilingual classroom teacher at Johnson Elementary School in East Aurora and is in his second year of teaching. His primary focus is meeting the needs of others.
“I care for the environment and community around my students and me,” he said. “I’ve been part of the East Aurora community for over 22 years, and I want to make sure our kids know that you can always do anything if you set your mind to it.”
When you walk into Kristin Light’s classroom, you are greeted by shelves filled with books, ranging from non-fiction biographies to the latest popular young adult fiction novel. It’s pretty clear from there that she loves her job as an English/Language Arts teacher.
Light is in her 14th year of teaching and teaches at Carpentersville Middle School in District 300. Her love of reading is contagious, and her students catch the reading bug from her energy, style and passion for learning.
“Teaching is both an awesome job and responsibility because you impact students each day,“ she shared. “It’s such a gift to spend my day helping kids better themselves, and I know that this impact can last a lifetime.
Teachers aren’t just focused on helping their students learn academically, but also helping them develop life skills. This aspect of teaching is one of Alma Colton’s favorite parts of her job.
Colton teaches at Krug Elementary School in East Aurora and is in her fifth year of teaching. She works as a special education and life skills teacher, and it is easy to see that relationships with her students and their families are key to her success.
“It’s very important to me to build those trusting relationships right from the beginning,” she said. “Because, if my kids can’t trust me as an educator wanting to do what’s best for them, then I won’t be able to get the most out of them.”
What’s the one science experiment that stuck out for you in school? Everyone has one that they remember fondly, and students in Danielle Kamp’s class have the chance to make those memories each day.
Kamp teaches at Cambridge Lakes Charter School in District 300 and has been teaching for 19 years. She focuses on making science a hands-on experience for her students with fun and unforgettable experiments.
“The more you can do to pull students into a moment, the better their learning will be,” Kamp said. “That helps pass the learning stick to students, and it will be something they always carry with them.”
Check Out The Other Nominees:
- Week 1: Meet 8 Stellar Educators from East Aurora and Kaneland
- Week 2: Meet 8 Fantastic Educators from Kaneland, St. Charles, and Geneva
About the Kane County Regional Office of Education
Led by Regional Superintendent of Schools Patricia Dal Santo, the Kane County ROE is located in Geneva and serves nine school districts. From teacher licensure assistance to professional development, the ROE’s mission is to advocate for education, provide leadership and perform regulatory functions. Learn more about the ROE’s offerings on Facebook, Twitter and by signing up for the semimonthly newsletter.