February Teacher Innovator

One Kingsley Elementary School teacher brings both technology and enthusiasm to the classroom to keep students on track for success. For her efforts, Naperville-based OfficeMax recently honored fifth grade teacher Pat Schmitt with the Teacher Innovator Award.

“It’s unbelievable! I thought other people won these things,” said Schmitt. “I never thought that I did anything extraordinary that I would get an award like this. I just enjoy teaching.”

Schmitt says it’s because of her students that she continues to enjoy her job.

“The kids are the things that keep me going,” said Schmitt. “My goal is to reach one child who’s not progressing the way maybe they should be and I feel successful if I can reach that one child who’s not been reached before.”

One particular student Schmitt has reached is Evan Alpern. His mom, Dawn, says thanks to Schmitt, Evan’s overcome his shy personality in order to take part in group activities.

“She really makes sure that he gets involved in the discussion and that he’s a part of what’s going on,” said Alpern.

Alpern was so impressed with Schmitt’s impact on students that she nominated her for this month’s teacher innovator award.

Along with a giant certificate, OfficeMax staff surprised Schmitt with a $400 gift card, camera, printer, and office supplies.

Schmitt’s grandson and her husband, John – who’s the president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce – joined in on the surprise.

“She’s touched a lot of lives over the years,” said John Schmitt. “I think what she’s done and all teachers do is so critically important and so appreciated.”

For their next assignment, Pat Schmitt will have her students write a persuasive essay about what she should buy with her gift card and why.


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