Teacher of the Year
Teacher of the Year Nomination
IHSCDEA TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2023
Heather has exemplified the highest standards of teaching in the driver education profession, being an effective teacher in both the classroom and BTW. Heather is dedicated to the curriculum and her students. She is always looking at ways to improve her presentation of the content, as well as ways to motivate her students. Through Heather’s hard work the TUSD 174 Driver Education program is one of the best small school programs in the state. She utilizes the ADTSEA Driver Education Curriculum as her main source of content with self-created worksheets that highlight each unit. Heather uses a variety of videos and PowerPoint presentations. She uses Google classroom daily when they are in Classroom. Heather makes it a point that every student at TUSD 174 who is eligible for driver education receives the proper training and is successful in completing the program. She instructs students with disabilities, who are home schooled, or who have incurred roadblocks that require them to retake the course.
In addition to her role as the driver education teacher she also teaches health education, and elementary physical education. She also makes it a point to obtain gloves, hats, coats, extra clothing for students who are in financial need.
Heather has made significant contributions to school/community safety programming.
IHSCDEA TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2023
Professional Affiliations: IHSCDEA 10 years member. Region 3 Director for 6.5 years, President Elect of IHSCDEA 2022-2023. Will become of President of IHSCDEA in May 2023. Teaching Accomplishments: Don is an outstanding driver and traffic safety educator. Don has created a driver education environment where students enjoy and want to learn. He has incorporated lessons that are interactive with the use of technology. Some of the learning platforms/programs that he uses are NearPod, EdPuzzles, Quizizz, Blooket, Google Classroom, WeVideo, and more. Don has also been a main contributor to updating LTHS’s driver education curriculum that includes the latest version of the Drive Right series, including the Oregon Risk Prevention Curriculum Playbook, providing interactive technology-based programs, inviting guest speakers, and aligning our curriculum and assessments to standards. Don also uses various teaching strategies to reach the needs of all his students. This includes converting assignments/ assessments in different languages for his English learners, making accommodations for students with IEP’s/504, communicating with parents, counselors, caseworkers, and utilizing Compass Time (students can meet with other teachers for extra help) to reteach lessons for students that are struggling or absent. Don has been a main advocate for the behind the wheel program at Lockport Township High School. With Don’s help, Lockport now provides behind the wheel opportunities for the students to take after school throughout the school year and in the summer. Don also invites guest speakers to visit the Driver Education classrooms throughout the year for the students to hear different perspectives, knowledge, and show that learning is a collaborative effort. Some guest speakers include Metra, Motorcycle Safety, SOS Distracted Driving/Simulator Presentation, Organ Donor, and LTHS School Safety Officer. Donald has made significant contributions to school/community safety programming.
IHSCDEA TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2022
Kyle Kruse is a very invocative teacher who brings various technologies into the driver education classroom to enhance the learning experiences of teenage drivers. His students appreciate Kruse’s dedication to having them become successful in driving and in life. School and Community Involvement: SADD Sponsor 7 years to present, Driver Education Department Chair 5 years, HOTS (Harvard Operation for Teen Safety) creator/sponsor 13 years to present, Project Ignition 1-year, National Youth Leadership Council 3 years. Professional Affiliations: IHSCDEA 15 years member, Assistant Regional Director IHSCDEA for Region 4 workshop for 2 years; American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA) 5 years member.
IHSCDEA TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2020
Jay has taught driver education for 22 years and Driver Education Department Chair for 5 years. Jay has been a member of IHSCDEA for 22 years and a member of ADTSEA for 6 years. Jay spent 3 years as Assistant Regional Director and 3 years as Regional Director for IHSCDEA Region 7. Jay received his B.S. in Physical, Health, and Driver Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Eastern Illinois University. School and Community Involvement: His teaching incorporates innovative teaching/learning strategies like the ADTSEA 3.0, Oregon Playbook R2, Drivers Edge Interactive PowerPoints, and speakers from Operation Lifesaver and Think First to enhance his students’ learning. He continues to influence the lives of young people under his direction. Jay engages his students through Operation Cool (where he was a Board member), Operation Teen Safe Driving, and Project Ignition (teen safe driving service-learning program) leader. State Farm consultant for 2 years on the Driver Feedback app that teachers and students used to evaluate/grade their driving on smooth braking, acceleration, and cornering. Jay has made significant contributions to his school/community traffic safety programming View Jay's Video Here
IHSCDEA EARLY CAREER TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2020
IHSCDEA EARLY CAREER TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2020
IHSCDEA TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2021
School and Community Involvement: SADD Sponsor 17 years to present, Physical Education/Health Education/Driver Education Department Chair 7 years, COST (Comets Operation Safer Teens) creator/sponsor 13 years to present, Project Ignition 2 years, New teacher mentor 7 years.
Professional Affiliations: IHSCDEA 17 years member.
Honors and Awards received: Project Ignition grant 2018; Partnership with GCMS Project Ignition 2015-2016; Operation Teen Safe Driving 3rd place 2014-2015; NOYS Rural Youth Traffic Safety Message Award 3rd place 2008; participation in Operation Teen Safe Driving 6 years; Ford Ride and Drive 4 years. Assistant Director for IHSCDEA region 7 workshop for 4 years and Regional Director IHSCDEA for region 7 workshop for 4 years.
Eva has exemplified the highest standards of teaching in the driver education profession, being an effective teacher in both the classroom and BTW. Eva has exhibited dedication to the curriculum and her students. She is always looking at ways to improve her presentation of the content, as well as ways to motivate her students. Through Eva’s hard work the CHS Driver Education program is one of the best in the state. She utilizes materials from the Traffic Safety Education Foundation, Drivers Edge interactive power points, and expert speakers in Operation Lifesaver. She also continues to have a Driver Education Parent Night twice a year. Students, parents, and community are involved through COST, Operation Teen Safe Driving, and Project Ignition. Eva and her students have also volunteered at Safety Days at the Elementary School and done presentations at the elementary on various safety topics. They have also volunteered for the Family Fun-a-thon at Olivet Nazarene University. Through Project Ignition, Eva and her students have partnered with GCMS driver education teacher Judy Weber-Jones and her Project Ignition students from Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (GCMS) in hosting a Ford Drive 4 UR School event where they raised $3,000 for each school’s safe driving program. Eva and her Project Ignition students along with a teacher and students from GCMS Project Ignition program traveled twice to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Project Ignition leadership training. Eva and her students continue to work through their school to affect the students and their community to drive safely.
IHSCDEA EARLY CAREER TEACHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE 2021
Nathan has taught driver education for 4 years at Urbana High School, Urbana School District #116 in Urbana IL. In 2017, Nathan became of the head of the Driver Education program at Urbana High School. He completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees at Eastern Illinois University. He is a member of the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association and the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.
School and Community Involvement:
Project Ignition, active member of St. Matthew Catholic Church, Varsity Football Coach at
Saint Thomas More, Volunteer youth athletic coach- Little League, YMCA, and IKWF.
Grants received: (professional and others):
Ride Illinois Grant recipient (3 years)
Project Ignition grant recipient (3 years) Top 20 in the country all 3 years
IHSCDEA Teacher Education Program grant award winner (2020)
Since Mr. Watson took over the Urbana High School Driver Education in 2017, the program has been awarded multiple grants. Specifically, the program has received 3 Project Ignition grants and 3 Ride Illinois grants, and most recently the IHSCDEA Teacher Education Program grant award winner. Mr. Watson has utilized the grant money received to improve the technology in his driver education classroom and start Project Ignition, a teen traffic safety service-learning program. He purchased a 4 K Ultra HD Smart TV, a blue ray DVD player, and an overhead LCD projector to enhance the learning already taking place in his classroom. This technology has allowed Mr. Watson to utilize the Oregon Driver Playbook, Drivers Edge Curriculum and ADTSEA 3.0. Since Mr. Watson obtained the TEP grant money in 2020 he plans to utilize new technology to improve behind the wheel student learning outcomes. The name of the program is “Technology Enhanced Behind the Wheel Instruction” and the goal of Mr. Watson will be to develop even safer novice drivers.
Nathan is been recognized for his organizational and technology skills, professionalism, enthusiasm, and positive impact upon the driver education program at his school. View Nathan's Video Here