Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: LaDonna Helm

Meet LaDONNA HELM, a first-grade teacher at Leal Elementary. This school year marks No. 24 for the veteran teacher, who says she's always remembering that her first-graders are small people first and growing academics second.

Teacher of the Week: Miranda Simmons

Submit your nominations: On Wednesdays, we’ll spotlight an area educator who is making a difference in the classroom and community. To nominate: email N-G schools writer Lyndsay Jones at ljones@news-gazette.com or tweet her (@__lyndsayjones).

Teacher of the Week: Scott DeWitt

Meet SCOTT DeWITT, a Tuscola High School math teacher who didn't plan on ending up in the classroom, but regrets nothing about his transition from the business sector to the education sector.

Teacher of the Week: Barb Rew

As a girl, BARB REW dreamed of becoming a teacher. But life took her down a different path, and she earned a degree in recreational therapy.

"I loved doing what I did, but I missed working with kids," said Rew, who after several years of substitute teaching returned to school and got a master's in education.

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?