Heather Geary

Heather Geary of Loves Park taught multiple subjects at Lincoln Middle School for nine years, but has been at Whitehead Elementary for the past six years, teaching first fifth grade, now fourth. Each day, Heather starts class with a morning meeting including sharing, activity and a message and closes it with a closing circle to reflect on the day and what was learned. She says, “I have made a commitment as an educator to help every student learn and succeed in my classroom and in life.” Heather endeavors to help her students feel secure, while also challenging them to set their own goals to achieve success. She lets them know that “it is okay to not know the answer; however, we take what we do know to figure out the unknown.” She encourages students in her classes to act as a community and have educational conversations with each other, as it “enhances all student learning.” She also encourages them to work hard and act responsibly to help “shape them into citizens that will benefit the greater good of society.” Since students vary in academic, emotional and economic levels, Heather uses differentiated instruction based on MAP data to meet their academic needs, makes accommodations for students based on IEPs, and uses the Responsive Classroom techniques including positive discipline and logical consequences. A student who nominated her said, “Mrs. Geary is the best math teacher. I think she should get the Golden Apple because people really get her math and understand her.”