Oak Lawn Community High School bilingual teacher Marwa Elmasry has been named the 2022 Bilingual Teacher of the Year through ISBE’s Teacher of the Year program. “The Teacher of the Year and Those Who Excel programs recognize the people who make education in Illinois so exceptional," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. "Our students have been in the most capable hands despite the challenges of the past two years. Our Illinois educators and their level of commitment, passion, and dedication have been a guiding light for students and communities in a time when we have needed it the most. I am so proud of each and every one of our honorees and especially of our finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year. This recognition is the highest honor in our profession." About Marwa, World Languages department chair Kristin Kuchyt said, “Mrs. Elmasry is an extremely dedicated teacher whose passion and appreciation for learning can be seen every day. Her classes have insightful conversations that lead to a deeper understanding of the material. She has an ability to make all students and community members feel welcome in our school. We are all so thrilled and excited that she was awarded with this honor!”
Art teacher Ailysh Cooper received the Meritorious Service Award for Early Career Educator. All public and nonpublic preK-12 educators in Illinois with fewer than five years of teaching experience are eligible. The top nominees from eight regions are designated as Regional Teachers of the Year; the Illinois Teacher of the Year is selected from that cohort. Remaining nominees are awarded on two levels: Meritorious Service and Special Recognition. Art department chair Eric Kallenborn said, “Ailysh Cooper lives and breathes art education. Whether it be creating how to art videos on YouTube or crafting a cool, new lesson for her classes, Ailysh is always finding ways to make art accessible to all. Her love for art education extends well past the hallways of OLCHS; she is involved in multiple organizations created to help teachers expand their craft, and she presents at national conferences to share her experiences and practices. We are proud and privileged to call Ailysh a Spartan. Our student art community blooms with her in this building.”
Principal, Dr. Jeana Lietz said, “We here at OLCHS have known what outstanding educators Marwa and Ailysh are; it is exciting that the rest of the state gets to know about their work as well. Marwa is a tireless advocate for her students, and has worked hard to create a bilingual program here at OLCHS to be proud of. Ailysh has been a wonderful addition to our staff, and we knew from day one of working with her that she was special. These are very well-deserved honors for both teachers.”
ISBE will recognize all its Teacher of the Year awardees at a banquet later this summer.