College of Education > About > Mission and History > Celebrating Teachers

Celebrating Teachers

“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.

2016–2017 Honorees

  • Timothy DeBoer, nominated by Matthew Verive
  • Rick Foerster, nominated by Christine Mei
  • Kathy Poulopoulos, nominated by Izolda Gargano
  • Lynn Love, nominated by Mirlinda Isai
  • Aubrey Smith, nominated by Kevin Horwitz
  • Jaimee Stephens, nominated by Ana Cortes

We would also like to acknowledge the following educators and the students who nominated them, as runners-up for the 2016–17 award:

  • Joe Bush, nominated by Rebecca Kandefer
  • Randall Coe, nominated by Jacqueline Lewis
  • Elaine Diveley, nominated by Taylor Jennings
  • Christina Jones, nominated by Kristie Jones
  • Dawn Sasek, nominated by Caitlin Chismark

2015–2016 Honorees

  • 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

2014–2015 Honorees

  • 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

2013–2014 Honorees

2012–2013 Honorees

  • 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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Action in Education

Action in Education

The Celebrating Teachers initiative was featured in the alumni newsletter, Action in Education.

Read article
Honoree and Nominator
Bobby Robaina with Celebrated Teacher, Nina Gdowski.

Nominations for 2017–18

Nominations for 2017–18 will be accepted from Fall Quarter to Spring Quarter. Specific dates will be announced at the start of the Fall Quarter. 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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