Three teachers in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 -- Deanna Bero, Heidi Galassi and Jon Nowortya -- were honored this month with Distinguished Teacher Awards from the district's NEW 200 Foundation.
Each year, the foundation honors one teacher from the elementary, middle and high school levels who has put forth extra effort to enrich the educational experiences of District 200 students.
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The award was established to recognize District 200 teachers for their excellence. Students and parents of current students may submit nominations for teachers they believe have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
This year, the NEW 200 Foundation honored Deanna Bero, a second-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School; Heidi Galassi, a seventh-grade math teacher at Edison Middle School; and Jon Nowortya, a music teacher and marching band coach at Wheaton North High School.
Bero was nominated by several families. One mom loves how she has helped her daughter and says, "My daughter is often shy to respond to questions, but Deanna has built her confidence and now she willingly raises her hand and participates in the class discussion. She encourages students to push themselves, which builds confident learners."
Galassi often can be found after school attending the school's sporting events. She was nominated by her principal, Rachel Bednar. "Heidi teaches all levels of seventh-grade math -- fast paced, regular, and co-taught," Bednar said, and "she does an outstanding job in each class, regardless of the students' ability level."
Nowortya, a music teacher and marching band coach at Wheaton North High School, was nominated by several students. Students say Nowortya not only teaches them to appreciate music, but also the importance of having good character.
"He confidently tells us there is no reason our band shouldn't play at Carnegie Hall or a national music festival," one student said. "It's his belief that no matter where you go or what you do, you will always represent the (Wheaton North) bands with exceptional character and respect."
The three teachers each received a plaque and check.
The mission of the NEW 200 Foundation is to enhance the school experience of District 200 students by funding innovative education, extending educational opportunities, recognizing excellence in teaching and fostering community partnerships.