- School: Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy
- Teaches: 9th Grade - Consumer Education
- Favorite Player: Brian Urlacher
"Mihir Garud believes that being financially literate can greatly impact the trajectory of someone’s life, especially for those who come from low-income households. It’s part of what makes him such a passionate teacher,” said district colleague Natasha Carlsen. “Mihir helps enhance his students’ educational experience by partnering with outside organizations like Grant Thornton LLP, which participates in monthly seminars hosted by the school’s Business Club and open to all students. Mihir’s classes have visited the Federal Reserve Bank to see how the economy is governed and the UK Department of Trade to learn first-hand how countries trade with each other. These are just some of the examples of a teacher who acts as a mentor to his students and is committed to helping them build important life skills that they can use after high school.” Carlsen nominated Garud for the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® award.
- School: Miguel Juarez Middle School
- Teaches: 6th-8th Grade, ESL/ELA
- Favorite Player: Devin Hester
“Tracy Fuentes is passionate about her students and will go above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure that her English Language Learners are successful both inside and outside the classroom,” said Elvia Uriostegui, a district teaching colleague. “Tracy has made an extraordinary difference in the lives of many students and their families in the Waukegan community. She establishes a trustworthy connection by consistently communicating and works hard to create opportunities for families to come in and take part in their child’s learning. Even with four children of her own, Tracy still finds time to be an active learner who is always eager to research and apply new strategies to engage her students. She is a role model for all of us.”
- School: Palmer Elementary School
- Teaches: 3rd Grade
- Favorite Player: Walter Peyton
"Meghan Dolan is an exceptionally dedicated teacher who has a longstanding, positive impact on Palmer students. In the classroom, she provides high-quality, differentiated instruction for her students. A fierce proponent for the rights of children with special needs, she advocates for her students with learning disabilities each and every day. Passionate about teaching, she generously shares that passion and professional experience with her colleagues,” said Jennifer Dixon, principal at Palmer Elementary. “Ms. Dolan is one of the finest teachers I’ve worked with in my 15-year career. Humble by nature, her work at Palmer has an enormous impact on the hearts and minds of students and everyone she works with every day. She inspires us all with the love and dedication she exemplifies.”
- School: John H. Kinzie Elementary School
- Teaches: Math
- Favorite Player: Kyle Long
“Kimberly Speck is a dedicated teacher with a love for math that she enthusiastically shares with her students,” said Jacqueline Janeteas, a Kinzie Elementary colleague. “Teaching pre-algebra and algebra to eighth-graders is no easy task, but Mrs. Speck always finds fun, exciting ways to get kids moving and learning in the classroom. She will come up with hands-on activities that have students writing on desks, killing zombies and using spaghetti — employing these creative methods to help kids learn the slope of a line. Her ability to teach with that kind of energy, engagement and love is a true inspiration to both her students and her colleagues.” Janeteas nominated Speck for the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® award.