Education Alumni Receive Prestigious Illinois Teaching Awards

by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney ’10

Photo of Emily (Zanfes) Weber ’09, Dr. Martha Eggers, and Reggie Duncan, M.A.Ed. '12Reggie Duncan, M.A.Ed. '12 and Emily (Zanfes) Weber ’09 received the excellence in Mathematics Teaching Award from the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) at the organization’s annual conference in October. A fifth grade teacher at Wingate Elementary School in Mascoutah, Ill., Reggie received the award for Elementary Mathematics, and Emily, a teacher at Joseph Arthur Middle School in O'Falllon, Ill., accepted the award for Middle School Mathematics. Only one teacher in the state of illinois from each category is presented with the award every year.

Reggie and Emily continue to demonstrate the drive they learned from their alma mater in pursuit of lifelong learning and share their gift of education with others. for the last two years, they both have been vital members of the writing team for the Illinois State Board of Education Model Math Curriculum, creating Common Core State Standards math resources for teachers to use in class. Reggie was also part of the teacher resource video project Math Voices and was recently named one of five finalists in the state for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which will be announced next year.

“I’ve always been a proponent of lifelong learning, and it’s a huge honor to be recognized as a role model by my peers,” said  Reggie. “If I can develop myself, I not only help my students and their families, but also other teachers. Sharing those resources with them is the true definition of a professional educator for me.

“When I think of teachers given awards of excellence, I think of veteran teachers who have been teaching for years and who have made great changes education,” said Emily. “I still consider myself a new teacher, starting my sixth year of teaching this fall and learning new things each year. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that others see me as someone deserving of this award.”

Emily and Reggie each emphasized the importance of the relationships they formed with their education professors while they were students. In particular, Assistant Professor of Education, Emeritus, Martha Eggers continues to have a significant impact on their lives, growing from a professor and mentor into a valued colleague and friend.

“Ms. Eggers has been an invaluable resource and mentor on what a professional educator looks like,” said Reggie. Emily listed her as her number one reference when she applied and was offered her first teaching job at Central District #104. “She was always an email or text away when I had a question as I started my teaching career,” said Emily. “She has always believed in what I’m doing in the classroom and still continues to push me.”