Central Elementary School
61 Woodside Road
Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 447-1106

Steve Elgeness Wins 2011-12 Teacher of the Year Award!

Posted May 11, 2012 | Category: Everything Else

This information was originally posted on May 11, 2012. Please note that the article refers to events from a previous school year.

Teacher of the Year Steve ElgenessTeacher of the Year 2012:  Mr. Steve Elgeness

Albert Einstein once said:  It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Central has many wonderful educators, but there is one who truly embodies Einstein’s words.  The PTO is honored to introduce Mr. Elgeness as this year’s recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award.

Parent/Teacher/PTO Comments

The PTO is happy to share their thoughts about Mr. Elgeness.  There is a lot to say, because there is a lot to say about Mr. Elgeness!

Mr. Elgeness inspires imagination and creativity in his students, while maintaining their focus to obtain success.   For example, under Mr. Elgeness’ guidance, the 5th grade Student Council thrives.  He avidly recruits students to become involved in the student council.  There are no elections; the only prerequisite to be a member is the desire to become involved.  From this seed, Mr. Elgeness empowers the student council to problem solve creatively and encourages them to implement their ideas.  Through this process, they realize that they can have an impact on Central School, take pride of ownership, and garner the resulting satisfaction in a job well done.

Mr. Elgeness actively participates in PTO events.  You can see Mr. Elgeness at our PTO events, whether it’s our Fun Fair, Book Fair, Winter Social, or wearing a vest outside for Traffic Safety.   During the Striding Lion Theater group residency, he was in the circle participating in the theater games.  It was no different this year when, during the Muntu performance,  he was out there learning the dance and song with his students.  Mr. Elgeness’ willingness to jump in and participate puts the students at ease, and the children enjoyed the camaraderie of performing as a united classroom.  This speaks to Mr. Elgeness’ desire to put himself in his students’ shoes to understand more completely their experiences and perspectives.

Mr. Elgeness was remarkable when the Cultural Arts Chairs approached him about the Cultural Heritage Festival.  He included the countries of the Festival in his 5th Grade social studies curriculum.  The students researched the facts and created beautiful travel brochures that were posted and distributed in the classrooms on the night of the Festival.  As the sponsor of the 5th Grade student council, he devoted 2 meetings to the Festival making posters, doing research and helping prepare for the event.

Just last week, Mr. Elgeness took on two additional projects:  1) Working with the Recess Committee and the Student Council in coordinating a Survey regarding recess; and 2) Working with the PTO and the Student Council in coordinating a Time Capsule.  These are two huge endeavors, especially with end of the year 5th Grade activities, not to mention capital improvements planning.  He consistently finds time beyond the classroom to help his students with new ideas, whether it be the Student Council, Young Authors program, PTO events, or Traffic Safety.

In the classroom, parents have recalled a project where the students were researching a certain time period in history.  Mr. Elgeness encouraged the students to wear costumes and speak in character.  This type of work makes history personal for the students.  Watching the interaction between teacher and student, it is easy to see why the kids are so creative and enthusiastic.  Mr. Elgeness encourages his students to be creative, to think, and he is receptive to their ideas.  In turn, Mr. Elgeness takes pride in his students’ ideas and accomplishments.

Student Comments

Here are what a few students had to say about Mr. Elgeness:  “He understands what 5th grade is like so he makes projects fun and still has the kids learning without even realizing it.”  Other students have commented that Mr. Elgeness is “young at heart” and does everything “with” the kids.  He “trusts” the kids and has mutual respect for each other in the classroom.  Another child remarked that for Spring Open House, he went home and baked for 2 hours for the fifth grade bake sale.

The list goes on and on…..Simply put, Mr. Elgeness goes above and beyond the call of duty, and he captures the essence of teaching at its best.  We are fortunate to have Mr. Elgeness as one of our teachers!