Return to Headlines

District 47 Celebrates Fall Elevate Award Winners

District 47's Elevate program recognizes employees who uphold and exemplify the district's mission, vision, and core values and who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of students, schools, and the community. Nominees and winners are announced three times a year - fall, winter, and spring. For the fall Elevate Award, we had 26 nominations and 8 winners. District 47 would also like to thank all the businesses that have chosen to sponsor our Elevate program this year. We have a total of seven local sponsors from Crystal Lake who help us award the winners with a special gift! 

Elevate Award recipients will be recognized at the December 18 Board of Education meeting. Please take a moment to read more about our winners with a quote taken from their Elevate nomination. Click here to nominate a deserving District 47 staff member.


Michelle Breutzmann, Kindergarten Teacher, North

“Mrs. Breutzmann went above and beyond for my son. She was so accommodating to his individual needs, recognized when he was struggling and knew what to implement to help guide him. Mrs. Breutzmann truly made such an important impact on my son and I will forever be grateful for that. I truly believe my son will never forget her. Mrs. B- thank you for making our beginning journey to North the most welcoming and comforting. You are truly a blessing and we are so lucky to have had your light touch our lives.”


Pamela Colson, First Grade Teacher, Coventry

“The days that were fantastic for our son, she celebrated just as hard as we did. The compassion she had on the days he struggled not only for our son but also for our family was overwhelming. We truly believe she exemplifies the word ‘teacher’ in every way. We only wish we could do much more for her than this award. She could never know how much we needed her that year.”


Guadalupe Espinoza, Kindergarten Dual Language Teacher, North

“Ms. Espinoza has really helped our daughter grow so much since the first week of school. She continues to work in ways that will help our daughter grow and learn what is needed of her as well throughout her learning career. Anytime Ms. Espinoza could advocate and help, she has exceeded my expectations. She provides her with a safe space to work through her emotions and has helped get her engaged in the newer programs including learning about feelings. I have seen so much growth in my daughter and cannot thank her enough for her continued efforts.”


Michael Lewis, Oasis Teacher, Hannah Beardsley Middle School

“My daughter has made a complete 180-degree turn this year in school, and I know it is largely due in part to Mr. Lewis. As a parent, I dreaded what this year would look like, and Mr. Lewis helped my daughter love school again. I cannot thank Mr. Lewis enough for sharing his talents with his classroom. I am so grateful to have him as my daughter’s oasis teacher.”


Katie Meyer, Speech Language Pathologist, Lundahl Middle School

“Katie is very knowledgeable and compassionate. She treats everyone with kindness and always has a smile. Katie is a great leader. She teaches those around her how to support students' articulation, fluency, and regulation during reading groups or social interactions. Student growth is remarkable when the team implements the strategies and techniques that she has created. I feel blessed to work alongside someone of Katie's caliber.”


Aaron Knoth, Director of Student Information Services, CORE

“Aaron Knoth has started his second year as Student Information Director at School District 47. In this short time, he has proven what an asset he is to this District, parents, students, and staff. His knowledge of technology, compassion for others, and drive to succeed serve him well in this role. Aaron has shown patience, support, training, and encouragement to his staff, making the Student Information Department a great place to work.”


Lisa Schilling, Permanent Substitute, Indian Prairie

“Lisa joined our staff this year as our building's permanent substitute. However, a few days before school started, the building still had a vacancy in our cross-categorical self-contained classroom. Lisa was asked if she could sub in this classroom until a permanent special education teacher was secured. This included setting up the classroom, welcoming the students, setting up expectations and routines, and providing rigorous, differentiated instruction to some of our students with the most complex needs. Lisa not only said yes but has embraced this role with passion and dedication.”


Melissa Zilm, Reading Interventionist, Indian Prairie

“The impact Mrs. Zilm has made is beyond any measurement a test could provide. She made my daughter excited to practice reading, and my daughter would tell me every day that Mrs. Zilm was the best part of her day. Mrs. Zilm demonstrates the highest level of commitment, compassion, and collaboration. I can’t imagine a better teacher for my daughter, and I truly believe she changed the trajectory of my daughter’s success in school.”