May 30, 2017

Public Schools acknowledges the dedicated teachers in our district through the
Teacher of the Year (TOY) program, which celebrates effective teaching, acknowledges
excellent instruction and rewards the outstanding accomplishments of our


year, the program begins with building-level winners and is narrowed down to
the Top 10 finalists, and then to the overall winner of Teacher of the Year.


it becomes increasingly difficult each year to choose a winner from our
talented pool of teachers, the Top 10 finalists for the 2018 IPS Teacher of the
Year program have been selected from this year’s 49 building-level winners.
“These teachers embody leadership and dedication to the classroom,” said Dr. Wanda Legrand, IPS deputy superintendent for academics. “We are grateful for their passion for teaching and a desire to make a difference in our IPS students.”
2018 IPS Teacher of the Year winner will be announced June 5. Let’s
congratulate these 2018 Top 10 Finalists:


David Baldock is a kindergarten teacher
at Center for Inquiry School 2, with four years of teaching experience. He believes
effective teachers understand
that all learners are unique and express meaning in a variety of ways.


“In my class,
I seek ways to tap into the natural curiosity the students bring,” said
Baldock. “The learning is fun; it’s exciting and the children take ownership,
because all of the learning is built on their genuine interests.”


Julie Beaty is a fourth-grade teacher
at Eleanor Skillen School 34, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her
teaching philosophy begins with building relationships and creating a positive
classroom culture.


“In my classroom, I want students to have
freedom that allows for expression and creativity,” said Beaty. “Students
should be able to experiment with likes and dislikes and to realize their
strengths and weaknesses. Then curriculum can be molded to tie in each student’s
learning style.”


Melissa Scherle Collins is a second-grade teacher
at Washington Irving School 14, with 13 years of teaching experience. She
believes that every student — regardless of life circumstances — can succeed,
and that teachers play an integral role in helping students discover and reach
their innate potential.


“A successful teacher will show unrelenting
commitment towards his or her students by observing and listening to students’ interests,
learning styles, ability levels and providing students with support,” said
Scherle Collins.


Suzanne Dennis is a fifth-grade teacher at
Meredith Nicholson School 96, with more than 30 years of teaching experience. Dennis
believes that classrooms should provide opportunities for higher-level thinking
on a daily basis.


“It is my
belief that a teacher needs to create a learning environment that encourages
students to be actively involved in the learning process, fosters respect and
responsibility and promotes the desire to be lifelong learners,” said Dennis.


Megan Hayes is a fifth-grade teacher at Arlington Woods School 99, with
seven years of teaching experience. She strongly believes that it is essential for teachers to set high expectations
and guide students to be the best versions of themselves. 


includes teaching the whole child and setting lofty goals for learning, behaviors
and habits,” said Hayes. “It also encompasses guiding students who need more
help in any of these areas, because when you see growth in one area, you often
see growth in other areas as well.”


Theresa Mandery is a third-grade teacher at
Brookside School 54, with 18 years of teaching experience. She believes in encouraging students to be
independent learners.


“It is
imperative that students be given the skills and tools to successfully
self-monitor academic progress,” said Mandery. “With careful planning and
guidance, students can chart their goals and successfully work through their
projected academic and social targets.”


Genevieve McLeish-Petty is an English teacher at
Northwest Community High School, with 17 years of teaching experience. Her
teaching philosophy is grounded in the belief that education must be relevant
to students, and that learning is only possible when the student-teacher
relationship is built on trust.


remind myself constantly that I do not teach a subject, I teach students,
people, young women and men, future voters and members of society,” said
McLeish-Petty. “I handle my
approach to education as doing what I can to fulfill a constantly changing
need. I do not get

 caught up in teaching what I am comfortable
with, or what I like to teach because it worked 10 years ago.”


Melissa Mullins is a first-grade teacher at Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58, with
16 years of teaching experience. Mullins believes learning should be
student-centered and that students should be active partners in their learning


“I am fully
cognizant of the challenges my students endure, but I refuse to accept those as
excuses for failing to educate them. There are no excuses; there are just
hurdles,” said Mullins. “Those hurdles (poverty, family life, mental health
issues, etc.) just motivate me to seek out other avenues to help my students
reach their full potential.”


Kathleen Rauth is a media specialist at
Center for Inquiry School 27, with 30 years of experience as an educator. She believes
that a great teacher is first and foremost a lifelong learner.


“They are
engaged in the world and are excited to discover and explore new ideas. They
welcome new challenges and demonstrate to their students that we are all on a
journey of inquiry,” said Rauth. “They see the role of the teacher not as one
whose job it is to fill young minds, but instead to open new doors to what is
possible and give their students the emotional, social and intellectual tools
to make the journey in to learning.”


Carrie Reiberg is a theater, speech and
debate teacher at Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School, with more
than 10 years of teaching experience. Her teaching philosophy is centered
around the word “fairness.”


“It sounds cliché, and it probably is, but I am convinced
that (fairness) is the most important thing I can provide for my students,”
said Reiberg. “In my room you are safe and you are treated fairly, with no
exceptions. … How I treat my students affects how they treat one another, and
that is at the core of my classroom culture.”