Skip to main content

Only Oswego

District 308 Educators to Receive Statewide Recognition

Oct 08, 2015 08:12AM ● By Steven Jack

Clockwise from top left: Pam Phelps, Laura Pastrik-Bankowski, Janice D’Ambrosia, Candace Popp, Stephanie Scherer and Shannon Thies

School District 308 will be well represented as the state presents awards to top educators this fall.
District teachers, administrators, and support staff will be recognized for awards in five categories at the 2016 Those Who Excel banquet at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel Oct. 17.  
The six nominees from District 308 are: Pam Phelps for Teacher of the Year, Laura Pastrik-Bankowski for School Administrator, Janice D’Ambrosia for Educational Service Personnel, Shannon Thies for Student Support Personnel, and Candace Popp and Stephanie Scherer, for Gap Closers. Below are some of the highlights from their nominations.
Pam Phelps
Pam Phelps, a science teacher at Oswego High School, is highly respected by her students because she takes the time to get to know them. She has fully integrated Character Counts and Standards for Emotional Learning (SEL) into her curriculum. She looks for ways to help her students find their callings in life while pushing their comfort zones.
When Phelps began teaching advanced placement (AP) biology, more students began taking an active interest in the course. More than 80 percent of her students earn college credit. She has received a Character Counts award from the village of Oswego for her many efforts. 
Laura Pastrik-Bankowski 
Laura Pastrik-Bankowski joined the Oswego East High School (OEHS) staff during the 2014-15 school year as assistant principal for curriculum and instruction. She quickly began helping with interviews and getting the school year started. During a period of transition in the OEHS leadership team, Bankowski stepped in to take on some principal duties, including running faculty and leadership meetings, organizing Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Carrers (PARCC) and AP testing, and leading the transition to dual credit courses. Through it all, she remained a tremendous asset to OEHS and has been a top performer while taking on additional duties.
Janice D’Ambrosia
Janice D’Ambrosia began working as a learning center assistant at Prairie Point Elementary School in 2005. She is an efficient worker, quickly processing books and re-shelving them and making excellent use of her time. D’Ambrosia, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, has demonstrated she can continuously think of her students; she has been concerned about their understanding of the disease and how changes in her appearance might affect them.
Shannon Thies 
Shannon Thies has worked as the media specialist at Fox Chase Elementary School for the last five years. Thies has continuously shown her passion for teaching by working to excite students about books, reading, strategies for research, Internet etiquette, and all types of technology. She has accepted extra sessions in her class schedule to remain available for every Fox Chase student. After she earned a master’s degree in instructional technology, she quickly became the “go to” technology staff member in the building. She is regularly sought out around the building for her expertise in various technology issues.
Candace Popp and Stephanie Scherer  
Candace Popp and Stephanie Scherer, intermediate English learner (EL) teachers at Fox Chase Elementary School, team teach a third through fifth grade multi-grade Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI) classroom of English learners. Both provide the best instruction to meet the multiple language and content needs in the classroom. They strive to better themselves and their students through strategies they learn while engaged in their own professional development. They work with a team of TPI teachers at the school to meet the needs of their students. Both teachers take the time to get to know their students and regularly go above and beyond, providing support for their students.