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OCTOBER 2019 Teachers Profile JILLIAN KIM, Second Grade Lake Street Elementary School, Crown Point Profile TRACY KOHLER, Sixth Grade Math Lowell Middle School, Lowell excellence of Recognizing Excellence in Teaching Through Dedication, Compassion & Knowledge LAKE COUNTY Why Teaching is More Than a Day Job: Five-year teaching veteran Jillian Kim relishes the daily adventures each new school year brings. “I love creating a classroom environment that’s fun and nurturing,” she says. “I enjoy learning about my students and incorporating their interests into my lessons. The most fulfilling part of teaching is making learning fun while seeing my students progress and grow into lifelong learners.” Kim is also one of the lead teachers in the Kiwanis Kids club, which gives younger students the opportunity to spread kindness through community service. FavoriTe ParT oF Teaching: Learning isn’t complete without some fun thrown into the lesson plan, and Kim makes sure to incorporate delight into instruction. “Academics are so important, but my favorite memories are having fun and creating relationships with my kids,” she explains. “I treasure all of it, whether it’s laughing together because of a silly story, dancing to a fun song together, or watching the full life cycle of our butterflies and taking a hike to release them in the wild. When I get to catch up with my former students, it’s so heartwarming when they tell me how much fun they had in second grade. Memories like these are the ones I cherish the most.” Why Teaching is More Than a Day Job: “The best part about teaching sixth graders is that they have their whole lives ahead of them with unlimited possibilities,” says Tracy Kohler. “I have the unique opportunity to instill a love of learning into these students. I get to teach them how to become critical thinkers, how to set achievable goals, and how to persevere. In turn, over the years they have allowed me to be able to watch them grow into wonderful human beings. Some of my former students are now patriots serving in our military, homemakers, millworkers, professional dancers, and teachers. It’s very rewarding to be part of their lives long after they leave the classroom.” Kohler has taught for 18 years and at Lowell Middle School since 2015. FavoriTe ParT oF Teaching: The mark each student leaves lasts well beyond his or her time in Kohler’s classroom. She recalls how one of her students left a particularly powerful legacy. “In 2008, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting and doing homebound with a seventh-grade student named Josh. He is the strongest person that I have ever met, and he taught me about the human spirit and the power of positivity. His bravery never wavered through the face of adversity. He was courageous, kind, funny, witty and quickly became family to me. Though Josh lived only 12 short years, the memories and life lessons that he taught me will live on as long as I do. It was a privilege and an honor to be able to be part of his life, and I will eternally be grateful to him for that.” PORTER COUNTY ® Profile Why Teaching is More Than a Day Job: Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, Evan Steiner loves seeing the joy his students’ accomplishments bring them. Steiner started as a paraprofessional in 2009 before becoming the full-time teacher in 2011. He also coaches football, wrestling, and track and field. “Working with students in the Life Skills program, I get to watch them discover and develop their sense of independence so that they may one day be as independent as possible,” Steiner says. “It’s also wonderful to see them gain confidence in their abilities and take pride in what they’ve done. One of the best feelings is seeing the sense of joy and accomplishment when my students get to do things for themselves like ordering lunch on our community experience trips or doing jobs around the school.” FavoriTe ParT oF Teaching: For Steiner, nothing brings greater meaning to his calling than seeing students flourish in his classroom. He says: “One of my favorite things to do at the end of student’s eighth-grade school year is to reflect on how much they’ve grown since they started in my class at the beginning of their seventh-grade year. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve changed in such a short time.” Steiner graduated from Purdue University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Art in social studies education. In 2013, he earned his Master of Science in social studies education from Purdue Calumet. Why Teaching is More Than a Day Job: EVAN STEINER, Special Education Chesterton Middle School, Chesterton Profile Thirty-four years into her teaching career, Dana Goelz says she still gets chills when her students learn how to read. “For me, there’s no feeling more fulfilling than opening the world to children by teaching them to read.” She recalls recently reading at her classroom table with a small group of children. “When we finished reading a book, I got to verbalize one of my favorite sentences: ‘Congratulations, you’re officially readers!’ ” Goelz is a graduate of Manchester University. FavoriTe ParT oF Teaching: Being a kindergarten teacher means getting to celebrate lots of “firsts,” from a student’s first book read cover-to-cover to first primary school graduation. “I love watching their excitement and amazement when they DANA GOELZ, Kindergarten Hebron Elementary School, Hebron make a connection between a skill we’ve learned and the real world,” Goelz say. “These moments may not always be new knowledge, but they are moments that turn children into students whose curiosity is encouraged so that they become lifelong learners.” Exclusively Valparaiso • Merrillville • Chicago P assion • C ommitment • e xCellenCe K en a llen l aw . Com (877)G o w ith K en Kenneth J. Allen Law Group, LLC, 1109 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN, responsible for content.