Mallori Sage

Mallori Sage of Machesney Park taught fourth grade at Galapagos Charter School for two years and is now in her fifth year of teaching third grade at Whitehead Elementary. Her established class rules are “Be Kind, Be Brave and Be Honest.” In a letter of recommendation, Rockford University Assistant Professor of Education, Annie Baddoo, related a situation in which Mallori recognized an issue and bravely fought to remedy it. “She analyzed data related to students … falling behind academically. Mallori realized that these students were often absent …. She connected with the students and their families and realized that these particular students had to cross a dangerous highway to get to school, as well as walk through icy, slippery blocks when the weather was bad. Knowing how important it is for the students to attend school, as well as the equity demands of the situation, Mallori advocated through the ranks of administration for the students to be able to have bus transportation to school.” Mallori tells her students that she sees, is proud of and believes in them. By building trusting relationships between herself and her students as well as between the students themselves, Mallori allows students to learn from mistakes, make amends, problem solve, take risks, try new things and cope in healthier ways. She models her own willingness to take risks and continue her growth by trying new methods and making course corrections as needed. Principal Pam Miner says that Mallori treats each third grader with warmth and respect, ever mindful of their character traits. “As I hear her use the phrase, ‘bring it back, bring it back,’ I am reminded that she understands the social needs of a third grader, but also understands the need to push them to strive to bring their best game to the learning table.” Mallori says, “I strive to spark joy, curiosity, community and kindness in my classroom. I strive to prepare my students not just for the next grade level, but the world beyond – the expansive, diverse world where they will take their places as global citizens and future leaders.” Each of Mallori’s nominations were from students, with one summing up the reason for the submission: “She's an awesome teacher. She's teaching me great things.”