Kane County to celebrate school educators, support staff at annual dinner

57 nominees include teachers, administrators, custodians, support staff

Dr. Charles Hiscock, 2023 Kane County Educator of the Year, next to his personalized chair given by the Kane County ROE in recognition of his achievements.

GENEVA – The Kane County Regional Office of Education will honor educators and other professionals at the Educator of the Year awards dinner May 3 at the Q Center in St. Charles, officials announced in a news release.

This year is the 48th event and there are 57 nominations from school districts in Kane County – a milestone in nominations. The previous record was 45 in 2017 and 2021, officials said.

There are seven distinguished categories: Early Career Educator, Early Childhood/Elementary, Educational Service Personnel, Middle School, High School, Student Service Personnel and School Administrator. Each is eligible to be selected Educator of the Year.

“The number of nominations we received reflects the amount of time spent by colleagues who completed the submission process,” ROE Superintendent Patricia Dal Santo said in the release. “That is a testament to the incredible work happening in our schools and the profound impact these educators have on the lives of Kane County students, staff and communities.”

Nominations require a professional biography, examples of leadership, accomplishments and a letter of recommendation. These are gathered into binders and scrapbooks that document a nominee’s personal and professional life through photos, art and themes.

Student teachers, retired teachers, university and business representatives and national board certified teachers review the nominations, according to the release.

“They have developed into labors of love over time,” Dal Santo said. “We’re talking thousands of pages submitted, all with the purpose of encapsulating what these educators have done for those they serve. Combing through these books is a highlight of the year and makes the review process challenging but joyful.”

ROE staff also do in-person interviews with each nominee.

Nominees from Batavia District 101:

• Jacob Wyeth, Alice Gustafson Elementary school fourth grade teacher

Nominees from St. Charles District 303:

• Adam Boyer, St. Charles East business education teacher

• Taylor Cyr, St. Charles East early career educator

• Maura Kenney, St. Charles East student support

• Carrie Michelle LaFreniere, St. Charles North administrative assistant

• John Peters, St. Charles North assistant principal for college and career readiness

• Julia Sanderson, St. Charles North world language teacher

• Jamie Veyette, St. Charles East special education professional

• Benjamin Wagoner, St. Charles North learning resource center director-media specialist

• Jamie Snyder, Davis Primary School student support interventionist

Nominees from Geneva District 304:

• Ken Blatz, Geneva High School custodian

• Jamie Dunlap, Geneva High School business teacher, adviser to both Distributive Education Clubs of America and National Technical Honor Society

• Eric Schulget, Geneva High School learning behavior specialist

• Susan Shrader, Geneva High School dean

• Michelle Vargas-Herbst, Geneva High School psychologist

Nominees from Kaneland District 302:

• Luc Pilwar Al-Sakhria, Kanelane High School English teacher

• Julie-Ann Fuchs, associate superintendent of business

• Elsa Glover, Kaneland Harter Middle School instructional coach

• Bradley Staker, Kaneland Harter Middle School choir and media director

Nominees from Algonquin-based School District 300:

• Matthew Bishop, Dundee Middle School music teacher

• Amanda Cook, Gilberts Elementary School first grade teacher

• Kelley Hladilek, Liberty Elementary School fourth grade teacher

• Michael Jakubowski, Hampshire High School industrial arts teacher

• Emily Kind, Eastview Elementary School speech language pathologist

• Megan Kleinschmidt, Meadowdale Elementary School dual language teacher

• Matthew Langton, Carpentersville Middle School principal

• Bradley Marks, Parkview Elementary School fifth grade teacher

• Rebecca Meyer, Sleepy Hollow Elementary School physical education teacher

• Steven Nakamura, Algonquin Lakes Elementary School head custodian

• Megan Scheffler, Lake in the Hills Elementary School second grade teacher

• Patricia Schmidt, executive director of school improvement and accountability

• Heather Velazquez, Algonquin Middle School special education teacher