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Get to Know Our 20 Finalists!

Lis Schurman teaches 6th-8th grade band and has been teaching at Belvidere Central Middle School for four years. Lis says, “Teaching band comes with many unique challenges. One of these challenges is making sure that each student has an instrument to play.” “When a student walks through my door, I never know it they’ll become the next Louis Armstrong or just play for fun, but we won’t know if we don’t try!” Lis does what it takes to get an instrument for any student who needs one. “Sometimes I have to reach beyond my own classroom to provide opportunities for students. All students deserve to reach their full potential.” The standard philosophy in Lis’ practice is that “all students can learn and all students will learn if you show them how and let them do it in their own time. This has looked different for many learners in my class. The learning process is special and unique, just like our kids!” She adds that she feels fortunate to teach where she does since, “as much as I would like to take credit with the success of my program and my students, I could never accomplish the things that I have done without the help from my colleagues.” When someone asks why she became a teacher, Lis responds, “Because all kids deserve to have someone who loves them unconditionally.” “It takes a village to raise a child. Every student in every classroom deserves the opportunity to thrive and achieve their goals. As the adults, it’s our job to figure out how to do that. If we all started with the simple commitment to loving every child unconditionally, we might find ourselves a little happier and our students achieving their greatest dreams.”