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McConnaughay spotlights everyday hero: Dane Huseman, 2017 Kane County Educator of the Year nominee

This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights Dane Huseman, language arts teacher at Cambridge Lakes Charter School and nominee for the 2017 Kane County Educator of the Year Award.

Huseman was nominated for the elementary school category by the staff and parent community at Cambridge Lakes Charter School, where he has worked for four years. His strong relationship-building skills and eagerness to improve his approach to instruction has earned him recognition as a top educator.

In his young teaching career, he has already taught varying academic subjects outside of English, including science and social studies, giving him well-rounded experience and adaptability in his field. Huseman’s goal each day as a teacher is to provide a welcoming and positive learning environment for students to want to participate.

“If students come to school and they’re excited to see you and take your class, my job is so much easier,” said Huseman. “You don’t have to worry about them being off-task or bored if you set up the class to be interactive and relevant to them. Those are the memories I have of my teachers when I was younger. I don’t remember the specific lessons but I remember the experience and the feeling.”

Before he dives into his interactive lesson plans and activities, Huseman starts off each academic year by setting his expectations for student behavior and performance in the classroom and the school. He has found that laying that foundation early on makes way for increased student engagement, respect and trust.

As part of his own professional development, he looks beyond standard teaching instruction, and recently began focusing on his delivery of the curriculum and lesson plans. The areas he zeroes in on most often are his presentation skills, student involvement and incorporation of more technology in classroom activities.

As a newer member of staff, Huseman says he is honored and surprised to receive the news of his nomination, and is equally as happy to see so many of his coworkers top the list.

“It was humbling and validating that the risks I’ve taken or tactics I’ve tried in class are working,” said Huseman.  “I read some nominations from parents and families of students I taught previously, and those relationships are still enduring. It makes me think about how I can continue to get better from here.” 

The Kane County Regional Office of Education hosted its 42nd Annual Educator of the Year award ceremony on April 28 by honoring 45 outstanding educators nominated as academic leaders by their peers. The award was presented to one educator in each of nine separate categories: classroom preschool teacher; classroom elementary teacher; classroom middle school teacher; classroom high school teacher; school administrator; student support personnel; early career educator; private/parochial; educational service personnel; and one overall top educator of the year.

“It’s so impressive to see a teacher be recognized so early in their career and make an impact like Dane has in his four years at Cambridge Lakes,” said Senator McConnaughay. “He relates to his students and really cares about their successes and experiences in his class, and I see a lot of great things from him in the future.”

Senator McConnaughay is proud to recognize Huseman for his Educator of the Year nomination and thank him for his ongoing dedication to Cambridge Lakes Charter School.

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