Katie Hurckes named Educator of the Year

Mrs. Hurckes pictured with nine children

Katie Hurckes, math interventionist at Indian Trail, was named 2024 Educator of the Year by the Downers Grove Elementary Education Association (DGEEA).

DGEEA leaders surprised Mrs. Hurckes with the announcement during the lunch break at the school. The Educator of the Year will be honored with this year's retirees during the Celebrate 58 Banquet, May 20, 2024.

Educator of the Year judges selected Mrs. Hurckes for this honor after reading a nomination essay – compiled by Indian Trail colleague and preschool teacher Donna Haidl –  that described Katie’s countless contributions to students, colleagues and to the profession throughout her career.

“The District calls this candidate a “math interventionist,” but we know this nominee as so much more,” said Haidl at the announcement. “To us she is our teacher-in-charge, a liaison between staff and the PTA, a problem solver, an attendance data guru, and a confidant…all on top of teaching kids math.” 

In addition to teaching, Mrs. Hurckes organizes Math Nights for the school, serves as PTA liaison, serves on numerous building and district committees and conducts math activities at a booth at the local Farmer’s Market to get kids excited about math.  “She is organized, a team player, solution-focused, flexible, driven, passionate, approachable, inclusive, creative, student centered and much more,” Haidl said.

This year's judges included several former Educator of the Year winners. The group used a rubric to score each nomination form.

The DGEEA congratulates and thanks all of the 2024 Educator of the Year nominees for their dedication and service: 

  • Steve Gross, Counselor, Herrick
  • Julie Batkiewicz, 6th grade teacher, Henry Puffer
  • Meghan Beard, 3rd grade teacher, Lester
  • Cathy Relias, Reading Specialist, Highland
  • Tracy Moriarty, Interventionist, Belle Aire
  • Laura Bucaro, Speech/Language Pathologist, Indian Trail
  • Barbara Manley, Family/Consumer Science teacher, O’Neill

    More photos from the announcement are in the Photo Gallery.