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Get to Know Our 20 Finalists!

Amy Wright of Roscoe has 19 years of teaching experience. First, she taught at an inner-city school known for low-achieving students, no family involvement and dangerous working conditions. After two years, she moved on to a school for gifted and talented, where students could take control of their learning.  Now a first grade teacher at South Beloit’s Prairie Hill Elementary, Amy has worn many hats: learner, listener, presenter, Professional Learning Community mentor and Reading Recovery teacher.  She shared, “When all hope of teaching a child to read is lost, you turn to Reading Recovery, and changes will happen. They actually learn to read!”  Amy enjoys learning about her students and their families. She says, “understanding the child, not just the student, helps give that child every opportunity to live up to his/her highest potential." One parent happy to partner with Amy in her child’s development wrote, “More times than not, my six-year-old daughter says she does not like Mrs. Wright.” Why? She won’t let her suck her thumb; she makes her redo mistakes; she tells her to try her best and she makes her read when she just wants to nap. “From a child's perspective, I can appreciate what my daughter is feeling, but we thank God for consistent, strict and loving teachers like Mrs. Wright, who focus on the important lessons of life.” She further praised Amy for helping expedite the evaluation of her middle child who was showing signs of ADHD. “Our pediatrician commented that we should be very grateful for a teacher who was willing to add so much more to her day just to help our child.” Kerry Driscoll, Curriculum Coordinator for Prairie Hill District 133, says Amy lives the school mission every day: “Student first, always.” Kevin Finnegan, who previously wrote recommendations for Amy as her principal, wrote this year with the added perspective of being the parent of a reluctant learner. He has seen Amy transform his daughter into someone who loves to read and write. When friends come over to play school, Finnegan’s daughter is always Mrs. Wright. “Why? Because just like when you shoot hoops and pretend to be Michael Jordan, when you’re practicing a craft, you imagine yourself as the greatest.”