- 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.
It’s Week 4 of #EOTY43! We’re in the final stretch before the big Educator of the Year ceremony on May 4 now, so make sure you contact your local school district office if you’re interested in purchasing tickets for this event.
Below you will find nominees from West Aurora District 129, St. Charles District 303, and District U-46 — teachers, administrators and support staff who have been nominated and recognized as leaders in their education-related fields by their students, colleagues, and supervisors.
Change just one letter of Matt Love’s name, and you understand what motivates this West Aurora High School teacher and his students.
Matt Love loves math.
While mathematics may seem like a clear-cut subject, full of formulas and equations and logic, Love’s talent is finding creative ways to get his students engaged and excited.
Math runs in Love’s family. He was inspired by his father, also a math teacher, to pursue a career in education, and he has devoted all his 26 years in education to teaching math at West Aurora.
“Often the rigor in mathematics is the fun in it,” Love said. “Students are looking for a challenge, and they become excited when they solve a difficult problem.”
If you’ve tried to learn a second language, you most likely remember you start by using your eyes and ears. Ana Maldonado uses strategies like this to keep her students attentive in her dual-language classroom.
Maldonado has been involved in education for 36 years. She started as a teacher in Puerto Rico and now teaches at Hilltop Elementary School in Elgin.
“I like to see how my students grow from the basic questions to abstract thinking,” she said. “When my students are ready, I can see them apply different strategies we’ve learned, and I can see how enthusiastic they are.”
Lindsay Boynton is a high-energy individual who is committed to her students in and out of the classroom. When she’s not teaching, you can find her rooting on her students at sporting events, school plays, clubs and awards ceremonies.
Boynton is a social studies teacher in at St. Charles North High School and is in her 12th year teaching. Much of her energy and passion for teaching is drawn from the moments when she sees her students succeed.
“I’ve learned that collaboration is key,” she said. “Collaborating with your teams at school will help you get to the best instruction for your students, and it also helps with supporting one another.”
What do you do to prepare for the future? Celia Banks prepares U-46 students for a brighter future by understanding and practicing state-of-the-art teaching techniques.
Banks has spent 24 years in education and is the bilingual coordinator for English Language Arts and libraries for elementary schools in District U-46. In her role, she is focused on meeting the needs of students now and preparing for the needs of future students.
“We look at worldwide research when planning our curriculum to see where education is heading,” Banks said. “We’re aiming to be on the cutting edge in education to best support and meet the needs of all our students.”
Carrie LaFreniere From St. Charles North High School – Nominated for Educational Service Personnel of the Year
Have you ever wondered how schools coordinate with substitute teachers to make sure students have a teacher in the classroom? Well, if you meet Carries LaFreniere, you will learn that the process starts bright and early — at 5:15 a.m.
LaFreniere works as an administrative assistant at St. Charles North High School and does a little bit of everything. She spends her early mornings coordinating substitute teachers for the school and also assists in the student life office. This is her 10th year working in education.
“You just never know what the day will bring, and I love that adventure and surprise,” she said. “I’m happy to be at the building each morning, and I look forward to what the next years will bring.”
Taurino Maldonado From Ellis Middle School – Nominated for Educational Service Personnel of the Year
For Taurino Maldonado, working with kids has been a lifelong passion. He volunteered with the Boy Scouts for many years, then found another opportunity to help kids by working in schools.
Maldonado has been a paraprofessional since 1997. Before that, he was a police officer in Puerto Rico. He uses many of his experiences and life skills from police work to enhance the education of students at Ellis Middle School in Elgin.
The learning, he said, goes both ways.
“I have learned a lot from all the students I have worked with,” he said. “It is my pleasure to work for the students, the parents, and the staff at the school.”
Susan Prigge From St. Charles North High School – Nominated for Student Support Personnel of the Year
When asked to share some words of wisdom as a social worker, Susan Prigge said there are two vital components to success: being present in conversations and having compassion.
Prigge has been working in education for seven years. Her favorite part of working at St. Charles North High School is seeing how much the students she works with grow from their freshman year to when they graduate.
“Teenagers have a lot going on, and what they really need is for someone to listen to their story,” Prigge said. “They’re not necessarily looking for someone to fix their problem or give advice. They’re looking for someone to listen.”
When you walk into Kim Kalousek’s classroom, you will see her working with students on skills such as career research, job applications, and resume building — vital skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Kalousek is a special education/vocational teacher at Larkin High School in Elgin. She has been teaching for 18 years and goes over a variety of topics to prepare students for entering adulthood.
“My whole class philosophy is ‘life after Larkin’ and preparing students for whatever that may look like for them,” Kalousek said. “My students know that I’m there for them after they graduate, and I help them with whatever that I can.”
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
- Week 3: Meet 8 Incredible Educators from East Aurora 131, District 300
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.