DePaul University College of Education > About > 50th Anniversary > Celebrating Teachers

Celebrating Teachers

Dean Zionts with an honoree
"Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher."

- Japanese proverb

The influence of a good teacher can transform the life of a student. In 2012, as part of the College of Education’s fiftieth anniversary celebration, Dean Zionts founded the Celebrating Teachers initiative. Since then, DePaul has honored the following teachers for their significant impact on the lives of DePaul students. Click on the names below to view nominating student’s and honored teacher’s inspirational and moving stories.


  • Trish Conlon, nominated by Alicia Woppel
  • Nina Gdowski, nominated by Bobby Robaina
  • The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, nominated by Timothy Hawkins
  • Alice Turner, nominated by Habeebah Mazcyk


  • Mary Ogarek, nominated by Aisha Ismail
  • Karen Rodrigues, nominated by John Porrazzo
  • Christine M. Spears, nominated by Shaunna Spears
  • Lisa Thyer, nominated by Micki Burton



  • Christopher Cassidy, nominated by Katie Roznai
  • Myung Chi, nominated by Christian Marin
  • Rhonda Johnson, nominated by Darius Montague
  • Amy Kochenderfer-Preiss, nominated by Jessica McGlory
  • Darlene Oakley, nominated by Alyson Hankwitz
  • Sofia Orlowski, nominated by Young-Ghee Kim
  • Michael Piskel, nominated by Alyssa Petrich
  • Michele Sanborn, nominated by Libby Villagomez
  • Kristin White, nominated by Kendall Raymond

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Honoree and Nominator
Bobby Robaina with Celebrated Teacher, Nina Gdowski.
Nominations for 2016-2017
Deadline extended! Nominate your teacher by April 21, 2017! The College of Education invites all DePaul juniors and seniors to share their stories about the educators who have inspired them. Esteemed teachers will be celebrated for their service during the Spring quarter and a monetary prize will be awarded to the teacher's school. Questions may be directed to

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