Elliott, Wilson recognized with Those Who Excel Awards
Two Lincoln K-8 staff members were recognized with 2019 Those Who Excel awards Monday morning.
Hedy Elliott, teacher at Lincoln K-8 School Within A School (SWS), has been named Peoria Public School 2019 Donald M. Phares Classroom Teacher of the Year, one of seven District Those Who Excel winners announced by Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat during an all-staff video presentation.
Lincoln K-8 Safety Resource Officer Monica Wilson was another of the seven award winners.
In nominating Elliott, Lincoln Principal Thomas Blumer noted, “Typically, her students are unmotivated and defiant; however, by the time they exit her classroom, her pupils have made significant improvements, both academically and behaviorally. Her ability to create a classroom culture that is inclusive and welcoming wears down even the most reluctant student. They walk into her classroom at the beginning of the year thinking of themselves as failures and walk out of her room with the idea that education can transform their lives.”
SWS is a self-contained classroom with a mix of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, many with behavioral and truancy problems. The SWS model, with fewer students in the classroom, fewer transitions and a nurturing, structured environment has succeeded in putting students back on track academically. Since initiating the program three years ago, discipline referrals have dropped dramatically and attendance and NWEA scores have increased significantly. Elliott sets a high bar for her students, introducing 8th grade curriculum for all students with more advanced vocabulary and advanced math.
In addition to teaching for Peoria Public Schools, Elliott also coordinates the Peoria Park District Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning at Proctor Recreational Center. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Illinois Park and Recreations Community Service Award, 25 Women in Leadership, Martin Luther King Drum Major Award and Church Women United’s Human Rights Award.
Monica Wilson, Safety Resource Officer at Lincoln K-8, is this year’s Educational Service Personnel Those Who Excel winner. “Wilson shows heart, strength, and genuine joy through her interactions with staff, students and parents.” Said Lincoln teacher Lindsay Parton. Wilson initiated The Project Bear Behavior Award, in which she tracks the behavior of at-risk students and awards each year’s winner with a police officer bear and a special lunch. An accomplished musician, Wilson plays guitar and sings for students and even composed a song for a graduating Richwoods High School student whom she had mentored for many years.