APPLEGATE: Reflecting on Niles teachers this holiday season

The holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to cherish those around us and feel grateful for all they do. In addition to being thankful for my family’s health and well-being, I am deeply thankful for Niles Community Schools teachers. As our students and families know, NCS teachers are hard-working and dedicated to their students.

From teachers who have been in our district in various roles for many years to those we are welcoming this semester, we are thankful for all they have done and continue to do for our students and our community.

Teachers’ influence goes beyond the classroom — from dedicating their time in the role of a coach or club advisor to facilitating fundraisers that benefit our community to so much more.

Most importantly, our teachers put students first. Whether praising and encouraging students’ success or helping them overcome times of difficulty, teachers put students at the forefront of everything they do. This commitment allows our students to grow and learn in a safe, welcoming environment they can look forward to every day.

There are too many incredible teachers doing great things in our district to be able to highlight them all individually. I do want to give the community specific examples so I will highlight only a couple here.

At Niles High School, Liz Green, a physical education teacher, shares her dedication to important causes with students by coordinating events like Jump Rope for Heart and raising money for the American Heart Association.

With technology advancing daily, we have teachers who strive to keep up with these changes in their classrooms. At Ballard Elementary, Laura Dierlam and Kyle Becktel have written several grants over the past three years to integrate new technology into their classrooms. The two teachers are able to strike a balance between students utilizing technology to work independently as well as work in collaborative and interactive teams. Liz, Laura and Kyle are a representative sample of our wonderful teachers who encourage, engage, and excite our students. 

At Niles Community Schools, we strive to attract and retain highly qualified, positive individuals who show one common trait: a passion for teaching. This passion is clear in all our teachers, and I speak on behalf of Niles Community Schools leadership when I say this desire to educate our students is noticed and admired.

Every day, NCS teachers go above and beyond, putting the time and care into benefiting the Niles community where it is most important — in the lives of our children. Whether the holiday season or summer vacation, we are thankful for everything our teachers do for our district.

Dr. Dan Applegate is the superintendent of Niles Community Schools.

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