Lab teachers receive the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award

Lab teachers receive the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award

This year, U-High teachers Julia Maguire and Frances Spaltro received the honor of being named Outstanding Educators by the University of Chicago. 

Each year, newly admitted UChicago students have the opportunity to reflect on their time in school and nominate an educator for the award who played a significant role in their education, made a positive impact in their lives, and whose influence has brought them to where they are today. Responses were received from thousands of students in recognition of educators who have positively impacted their lives.

The University defines an Outstanding Educator as one who shapes young minds in meaningful ways—thoughtfully approaching instruction, sharing an infectious love for learning, and caring for students both inside and outside of the classroom. 

U-High Mathematics Classroom

Students working out problems in Maguire's U-High classroom

Julia MaguireJulia Maguire began her work at the Laboratory Schools in 2007 where she is a member of the Math Department teaching high school mathematics. She also serves as the finance and operations coordinator where she keeps the school up to date on accreditation and supports the Finance and Operations Department as a member of the threat assessment team, emergency management group, health and safety committee, and other operations throughout the Schools.

“Students bring incredible ideas and experiences to the classroom,” Maguire says. “As a teacher, I want students to see the beauty in mathematics and learn to be good thinkers and problem solvers.” 

Maguire earned a degree in mathematics and secondary education from Northwestern University, and completed a master’s degree in educational leadership from DePaul University.

U-High Greek Class

Spaltro teaching Greek—a U-High world language option

Frances SpaltroFrances Spaltro was working on her dissertation in classics at the University of Chicago when she taught one Latin class at U-High in 1998. “I thought it would be a one-off,” she says, “not much later I was teaching two classes, then three, became an advisor, coached Dance Troupe, coordinated May Project, and was faculty sponsor for Model UN.” In short, Spaltro became a high school teacher without realizing it, saying that her passion for classics and teaching intersected perfectly at Lab. 

“I love teaching U-High students about ancient Rome and Greece, and every student I teach helps me to become a better teacher,” she says. “This award, being recognized by a student like this, is the most profound and meaningful experience for me as a teacher. It means the world.”

Spaltro earned her undergraduate degree in classics and English literature at San Diego State University, a master’s degree in classics at San Francisco State University, and PhD in classics at the University of Chicago. 

“Lab is justly proud of our world-class faculty, Frances and Julia are amazing teachers,” says Director of Schools Tori Jueds, “When a young person carries inspiration from a high school teacher into the world, you know something truly magical has happened. I’m delighted that their excellence has been honored by former students.

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools is thrilled to recognize the excellence in teaching evident in Maguire and Spaltro’s careers and sincerely congratulate them on receiving this year’s Outstanding Educator Award. 

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