Senior Samantha Reed Gains Recognition for Teacher Who Made a Difference

Senior Samantha Reed Gains Recognition for Teacher Who Made a Difference

Samantha Reed and Georgia Stohr

Four high school teachers who made a big difference in the lives of five Northwestern University seniors received a teaching award at commencement on June 17. One of the recipients of the inaugural Northwestern University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award was nominated by SESP senior Samantha Reed.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro’s call for nominations for the award brought dozens of essays from Northwestern seniors. The essays overwhelmingly pointed to the passion, know-how, heart and innovation of the high school teachers they nominated.  “Northwestern is rich with incredibly talented students, and so much of the credit goes to high school teachers,” Schapiro says.

Choosing among the teachers who responded to the nominations was difficult. But the video interviews with the four recipients, following readings of the essays singing their praises, confirmed the nominating committee’s choices. Each of the four teachers and each of the high schools where they teach will receive an award of $2,500.

Reed nominated her former English teacher Georgia Stohr, who heads up the freshman honors program in English and is an adviser for the yearbook at LaSalle-Peru Township High School in LaSalle, Illinois. “Ms. Stohr teaches her students much more than Greek mythology or Adobe InDesign,” says Reed. “With honesty and respect, she coaches them through some of the most difficult and formative years of their lives.”

The countless hours Stohr worked before and after class, particularly in her advocacy for the yearbook, also was noted by Reed. Each year she takes the yearbook staff to camp in the summer, prepares them for journalism competitions and submits their work for scholastic recognition. “I still have coffee with Georgia Stohr or visit her classroom whenever I go home for a few days … she has become as much my friend as my teacher,” Reed says.

The other three honorees are Theresa Fischer, John Holloran and Edwardo Johnson. Fischer teaches AP Economics and American Government and Politics at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and is the advisor for Model UN. Holloran is a history teacher at Oregon Episcopal School. Johnson, who was nominated by two Northwestern students, is curriculum coordinator for world languages at University School of Nova Southeastern University (Upper School) in Davie, Florida.

The Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award is co-sponsored by the Associated Student Government and the office of the president; the selection committee was co-chaired by Josh Wasserman, a senior in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Eugene Y. Lowe, Jr., assistant to the president and senior lecturer in religious studies. SESP Dean Penelope Peterson was a member of the selection committee.

Students nominated 46 teachers, 25 teachers submitted materials for committee consideration and 11 teachers were selected for interviews. The committee recommended the four winners of the award to President Schapiro.

“It has been gratifying to work with such a committed group of Northwestern students and the Associated Student Government on the selection process for this award,” Lowe says. “We shared the privilege of engaging a remarkable group of teachers who play such critical roles in the lives of students.

“I'd just like to say that I was thrilled and honored to be able to share another graduation with Georgia, and am so happy that she has been recognized for the exceptional contributions she has made to the lives of her students,” Reed adds.

Photo caption:
SESP graduating senior Samantha Reed and her high school English teacher Georgia Stohr

By Patricia Vaughan Tremmel and Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 5/5/15