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LISLE, Ill. — The WGN September Teacher of the Month is full of energy and enthusiasm and when school went remote in the spring she went above and beyond to make sure her students still thrived.

At St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in Lisle, Angela Suwanski teaches kindergarten.

Suwanski arrived at the school three years ago.

“It really is my happy place,” she said.

When COVID-19 brought in-person learning to a halt, Suwanski stepped up. On top of the classroom Zooms, she made sure to check on each of her students one-on-one with phone calls and facetimes. And for some, even during the summer.

Suwanski helped students and parents prepare for the transition back into the classroom. She said seeing the students lights her world. She learned early on how outstanding teachers shape lives.

“My mom was a teacher and she’s probably my biggest inspiration as becoming a teacher,” she said. “I’ve taught other grades, but something just clicked with me with the little ones. It has to start with the little ones. We’ve got to grab them there and how can we grab them to have that love of learning all the way through high school and through college. That’s what I’m hoping to do with my classes every year.”

Suwanski is passionate about reading, tutors students who need extra help and enhances learning with yoga and movement.

Award sponsor and attorney Ken Allen gave Suwanski a $1000 check for the school.