CHICAGO | De La Salle has announced that Mary Ellen Lesniak, the English as a Second Language and Family Literacy coordinator at the Tolton Center, has been chosen as the 2013 Toyota Teacher of the Year runner-up. The Tolton Center is De La Salle’s adult education initiative.
Lesniak, who earned this prestigious national award on April 28 at the National Conference on Family Literacy in Louisville, Ky., received a $2,500 grant, which she plans to use to buy iPads for her classroom, as well as a scholarship to attend the conference.
In her 14 years of teaching at Tolton, Lesniak has served as an Adult Basic Education and General Educational Development instructor and has shaped Tolton’s Family Literacy program in some of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods.
Today, Lesniak serves as Tolton’s ESL and Family Literacy coordinator. Most recently, she has improved the educational experiences and lives of more than 200 limited-English proficient immigrant families as shown through parents’ consistent level gains on BEST Plus and CASA tests.
Lesniak’s work also is a contributing factor to Tolton Center’s ranking as the ninth highest of 97 adult education programs funded by the Illinois Community College Board.