Teacher of the Month Winners

March 2019

CONGRATULATIONS to Mr.  Steve Connell, Science Teacher at Crystal Lake South High School and our MARCH  “Teacher of the Month” with Home State Bank on Star 105.5!  See why his student says he’s the best below.

Pic left to right – Principal Nobilio…Patty Rasmussen, Home State Bank…Mr. Connell…Letter writer, Alex…Star 105.5’s Dj Clinto.

Writer: Alex

Teacher: Steve Connell

Class: Science

School: Crystal Lake South High School

Nomination Letter:

Mr. Connell makes Physics C the most exciting part of my day. Everyday when I show up to class no matter how hard the things we are learning are, he always manages to make the day enjoyable. He does demos that relate to what we are learning, in turn keeping us engaged with the lesson. His demos allow us to visualize difficult topics like Electricity and Magnetism helping us to understand the topic better in order to prepare us for the AP test at the end of the year. Teaching physics is only a small part of what he teaches us. Everyday we are challenged academically as a way to prepare us for college and life in general. We are pushed to our comfort zones and beyond as a way to show that there are things that we won’t understand, and that it’s ok to not know everything. With this technique he prepares us for harder courses in college, and challenges we will face further in life. This teaches us time management as we are all busy with sports and/or extracurriculars. Despite all of the hardships he still makes sure that we are handling the class load, if we are struggling he helps us outside of class. We can come in during the school day, or if we need help after school we can message him with question about classwork and he happily responds with an answer to our problem. During lunch we can come into his classroom to work on homework or just talk about random topics. I have learned many interesting things about math and physics that I would not have the chance to learn as these things go above and beyond what we are taught at school. Mr. Connell has made a huge impact on my life over the past two years, he makes a difficult class the best part of my day, he motivates us through hard times, but most importantly he teaches us valuable lessons that we can use in college and throughout our whole lives.


February 2019

CONGRATULATIONS to Mrs. Kim Diersen, 6th Grade SCIENCE Teacher at Cary Junior High School in Cary & our FEBRUARY “Teacher of the Month” WINNER from Home State Bank on Star 105.5! Enjoy the winning letter below!

Pictured – l to r – Lake In The Hills Home State Banking Center Manager, Maribel Lozano….Letter writer, Evan…Mrs. Diersen…Star 105.5’s Rae Rae… Bottom l to r – students Leo & Rylen.

Writer: Evan
Teacher: Mrs. Kim Diersen
Class: 6th Grade Science
School: Cary Junior High School 

Nomination Letter:
We would like to nominate Mrs. Kim Diersen for teacher of the month for continually bringing enthusiasm to teaching 6th grade science, providing amazing communication between herself, her students and parents and for always having an open door! She has a tough task of teaching 6th graders, students who are in their first year of junior high! She began the school year with so much excitement and it hasn’t faded, she made her students feel so comfortable in their new environment and not feel lost right from the start! Not just for science class, but comfortable in the whole school! She has “DRAGON ROCKSTAR” & “100 GRAND CLUB” bulletin boards that recognizes students for going above and beyond and motivates other students to do their very best! Learning is fun in Mrs. Diersen’s class! She makes videos in her own back yard with her own chickens and shares them with the students to show personal examples for them to help them relate what they see to what they are learning! She is constantly evolving for her students, she teaches them lessons and if someone is struggling or unsure she reviews it with everyone and reteaches it with patience and care to ensure everyone understands every aspect of the lesson! She holds so much respect in her classroom and with that her class has such a positive learning environment. You can tell students are comfortable asking questions and want to learn and do well for her in class! She is continually sending messages home to parents so that there is always an open line of communication between them. She started a private social media page for parents to see photos and updates on things their students are doing. In a world where technology is evolving and changing in education so is Mrs. Diersen. She is providing students with so many opportunities both in science and with life lessons like taking ownership of starting good study habits in 6th grade. Mrs. Diersen is giving them confidence to succeed for the future in all aspects of education! She continually goes above and beyond for her students and rewards them for their awesomeness! We’d like to see her rewarded for her awesomeness too!!!

Check out our podcast with Mrs. Diersen and letter writer Evan!


CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Tony Moretti, Special Education Teacher at Haber Oaks Campus in Crystal Lake & JANUARY “Teacher of the Month” WINNER from Home State Bank on Star 105.5!  Enjoy the attached pictures & the winning letter below!

(l to r) – Letter Writer, Gillian…Teacher, Mr. Moretti…Home State Bank, Crystal Lake Assistant Banking Center Manager, Bobbie Novak…Star 105.5’s Rachel “RaeRae”

Writer: Gillian 
Teacher: Tony Moretti 
Class: Special Education 
Principal/Director: Julie Duncan
Nomination Letter
Mr Moretti is one of those teachers that genuinely want to see you succeed. I was a lost cause, on the verge of dropping out, i was transferred from my original highschool to haber oaks my junior year. Mr Moretti and I made a connection right off the bat. He helped me with all my classes, he helped me mental wise, he helped me find what i really wanted to do with my life. I use to just sit in his class room and silently do my work while he taught his class, he saw I enjoyed the class he was teaching and got me put into it right away. With Mr Morretti helping me day by day, I was able to graduate 6 months early from high school. I was almost a school drop out and then Mr Moretti literally put me back on my feet. Crazy to look back at and see what I accomplished. Because of Mr Moretti, I went to college. He helped me with applying to colleges as well as getting into college. To this day he still helps me with my work. He helps me with my grades and classes, looks over my credits to make sure I’m on the right track, he’s even gotten me a tour of a forensics center as well as a ride along with the department because he knew that’s the major I wanted to go into. I would of never been able to be where I am today with out him being such an amazing teacher.


CONGRATULATIONS to Mrs. Melanie Meyers, 6th Grade Literature Teacher at Northwood Middle School in Woodstock & DECEMBER 2018 “Teacher of the Month” WINNER from Home State Bank on Star 105.5!  Enjoy the attached pics & winning letter below!

(l to r) – Home State Bank, Woodstock Banking Center Manager, Donna Besler…Teacher, Mrs. Meyers…Student, Anne…Star 105.5’s Rachel “Rae Rae”
Writer: Anne 
Teacher: Melanie Meyers
Class: 6th Grade Literature
School: Northwood Middle School/Woodstock
Principal: Bethany Hall

Nomination Letter
I wanted to nominate Mrs. Melanie Meyers for the kind, fun, teacher she is! She thinks outside the box and makes learning fun in unimaginable ways, she is kind, fun and friendly, while teaching the needed material. For example we have to read so she makes it a book club. I used to dread the idea of middle school, but Mrs Meyers is like the light in the darkness, a thing to look forward to in the day. Some people say these are teacher expectations high expectations, knowledge of curriculum and standards, knowledge of subject matter, passion for children and teaching well, she has all of that. She teaches us new things and helps us discover our passions! She believes in us, encourages us to reach our highest potential, and convinces us that we can do anything we set our minds to. She has a love for reading, writing, and learning. She opens a world of possibility and make learning FUN! She can pretty much do it all! She is not only a teacher, she is a mentor, coach, motivator, supporter, and a friend. She takes pride in the little things her students accomplish and the milestones we make. She has the ability to leave an everlasting impression on so many of their students. She partners with families and communities to ensure every student gets what they need to succeed! She is patient and she cares! Even though every student learns at a different pace, teachers are completely devoted to making sure each one is learning and understanding – and no one is left behind, no matter how long it takes. She knows her students; Northwood is lucky to have her. For these reasons and so many more, I hope Star 105.5 recognizes Mrs. Melanie Meyers for the work she is doing in District 200/Northwood!


CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Andrew Hillier, FRENCH Teacher at McHenry Community High School & NOVEMBER “Teacher of the Month” WINNER from Home State Bank on Star 105.5!  Enjoy the attached pictures & winning letter below!


Pictured:  McHenry Banking Center Manager, Mark Schlagel…Teacher, Mr. Hillier…Student, Megan…Star 105’s DJ Clinto.

Writer: Christine 
Teacher: Mr. Andrew Hillier 
Class: French
School: McHenry Community High School
Principal: Jeff Prickett

Nomination Letter
Mr. Hillier is my daughter’s French teacher. He helped her through a tough family matter that occurred last year, when she was a junior. This year, as a senior, she wanted to take French 3 but the only way it would have fit into her busy school schedule would have been for her to take all of her classes at the other campus. Mr. Hillier graciously offered for her to take French 3 during his French 1 class, at “her” campus, as an Independent Study. He did not need to do this, but he is such a caring man, and put that offer out to her. She took him up on it and is now taking all of her senior classes at “her” campus! Mr. Hillier is such a nurturing, kind and devoted man. He truly went above and beyond!


CONGRATULATIONS to Mrs. Kim Reed, 5th grade Teacher at Conley Elementary School in Algonquin & our OCTOBER “Teacher of the Month” WINNER from Home State Bank on Star 105.5! The link to the video nomination is below & picture is attached!

Pictured – (l to r) Brett Berg, Home State Bank Vice President – Director of Marketing…Star 105.5’s DJ Clinto…Video & letter writer, Tessa…Mrs. Kim Reed…Jay Little, Home State Bank Personal Banking Counselor.

VIDEO Nomination
Mrs. Reed is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. She is encouraging and kind and cares for me (and her other students) more than just students. She thinks outside the box and makes learning fun in unimaginable ways. I was her student last year and since now I’m in middle school I am not in the same building as her anymore I thought this was it. But NO! We have stayed in touch and she has encouraged me throughout middle school too! Here is a video about just how awesome Mrs. Reed is!!!


CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Paige Economos, 3rd Grade Teacher at Deer Path Elementary in Cary & SEPTEMBER “Teacher of the Month” WINNER from Home State Bank on Star 105.5!  Enjoy the winning letter below & a picture is attached!

Pictured:  Students Drew & Spencer, Miss Economos, Home State Bank Representative, Ellen Galloway, & Star 105.5’s, DJ Clinto.

Nomination Letter: 

Our family wanted to nominate Ms Paige Economos for the kind, fun, spunky teacher she is! She is an educator that thinks outside the box. Her focus is growth mindset learning, which we love in our home! You need someone to wear a costume for an assembly? Ask Ms. Economos! You need a server for Culver’s night? Ask Ms. Economos! She is engaged and dedicated to the success of Deer Path Elementary. When my son comes home from school, he tells me how Ms. E teaches the material in an interesting way. Usually he is telling me his day with a British accent because he is learning all sorts of fun accents from his teacher! She is kind, fun and friendly, while teaching the needed material. From a parent’s perspective, I am so grateful that my son has the privilege of being around a teacher who is ‘on his side’. She wants her students to succeed. When you think of an ideal teacher, you would think of Ms. Economos- great communicator, good listener, always has a smile on her face, patient, supportive of our school’s PTO, asks the parents for feedback and genuinely cares about her class. Each student has different needs and Ms. E meets those needs, professionally and privately. My son needs a standing desk and other materials to stay focused during the school day. She had already read his notes and had everything ready to go at ‘back to school’ night. She knows her students; Deer Path is lucky to have her. For these reasons and so many more, we hope Star 105.5 recognizes Paige Economos for the work she is doing in District 26!

Thank you to Home State Bank and Star 105.5 for giving parents and students this platform to recognize exceptional teachers!



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