Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Melissa Ward

Meet MELISSA WARD, a kindergarten teacher at Ruth M. Schneider Elementary School in Farmer City. During math class, you can find the some-years-a-first-grade-teacher and some-years-a-kindergarten-teacher being "silly" with her students — a hallmark of her classrooms.

Teacher of the Week: Sarah Brown

Meet SARAH BROWN, who's living her dream of small-town teaching every day at Fisher Elementary.

Teacher of the Week: Natalie Lessaris

Meet NATALIE LESSARIS, a fourth-grade teacher at Champaign's Booker T. Washington STEM Academy. A former stay-at-home mom, Lessaris brings the baking skills she has honed over the years to her classroom, where she rewards productive students with cookies.

Here's more:

Teacher of the Week: Kathy Caston

Meet KATHY CASTON, a 32-year veteran who taught first, second, fifth and sixth grade and P.E. in the Danville school district and now is in her ninth year of teaching kindergarten at Northeast Elementary Magnet School.

Teacher of the Week: Bob Lindsay

Meet BOB LINDSAY, a late-comer to the education field who has turned his age — 57 — into a running joke with his class at Fisher High School. But that's just one of the ways he tries to make things fun for his social-studies students, he said.

Teacher of the Week: Mary McMillen

Meet MARY McMILLEN, a 22-year librarian at St. Matthew Catholic School who's retiring at the end of this year. And then?

Teacher of the Week: Lori Broady

Meet LORI BROADY, who is in her first full year teaching second grade at Tuscola's North Ward Elementary School after a 10-year run at Champaign's Next Generation School. Broady actually started at the Douglas County school in 2016 but didn't make it a month after receiving news she never imagined getting in her mid-30s. Here's more.

Teacher of the Week: Ellie Short

Meet ELLIE SHORT, a second-year math and statistics teacher at Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School. The 2013 Golden Apple Scholar credits her time teaching summer school in the Chicago Public Schools throughout college with molding her into the teacher she is today.

Teacher of the Week: Valerie Prescott

Meet 22-year education veteran VALERIE PRESCOTT, who recently finished teaching her fifth-graders at Champaign's Barkstall Elementary a powerful, two-week unit about the Holocaust.

Here's more about the self-described "huge Yoda fan" from staff writer Lyndsay Jones:

Teacher of the Week: Joe Pittenger

Meet JOE PITTENGER, a special-education instructor at Champaign's Franklin Middle School who teaches reading, writing and math. Prior to his current job, he worked in alternative teaching in Los Angeles, for Unit 4's Kids Plus program and at the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago. The one thing they all have in common?