SD81 is pleased to announce that the Schiller Park Education Association (SPEA) has nominated LMS Art teacher Mrs. Kacie Razo as Illinois Teacher of the Year.
For the past nine years Mrs. Razo has been touching the lives of students, colleagues, the community and the teaching profession. Mrs. Razo has the respect and admiration of all who know her and she has been a great inspiration to her students and those who work alongside her.
The SPEA shared that at the heart of Mrs. Razo’s practice as a teacher is her passion for art. She is a talented artist who has produced many outstanding works of visual art. Recently Razo became involved in America SCORES Chicago, a unique comprehensive youth development program which uses the tools of poetry, soccer, creative expression and service-learning to equip and inspire urban youth to lead healthy lifestyles, become engaged students and grow into leaders for their school and communities. Razo's artwork for SCORES was a visual depiction of poetry written by Chicago’s youth, and one piece of art she produced sold for the highest auction price out of all of the entries. Staying true to her character as a giver, Razo chose to give 100% of the proceeds from her auction back to SCORES so that they could continue carrying out their mission.
Like many of the district's excellent teachers, Razo has been a leader in District 81 and in the teaching profession, taking on a plethora of extra roles and responsibilities. She served as the liaison to bring a wealth of innovative behavioral and academic intervention techniques from RTI professional meetings back to the teachers at Lincoln Middle School. She also served on the Battle of the Boltz committee where she helped organize a school-wide interdisciplinary competition that has become a loved annual tradition at LMS. Razo is a founding member of the INSPIRE committee where she has helped select and pair teacher mentors with at-risk student mentees. She has been a longtime member of the School Leadership Team, has been a mentor for new teachers in the district, and spearheaded the development of an adaptive art program for students with disabilities, innovating new ways to help students who are often non-verbal collaborate on art projects. Finally, she completely revamped our career day offerings, carrying out a vision to make the day a custom career-exploring experience for each middle school student.
Razo is an exemplary candidate for this high honor because her service-oriented calling as an art teacher has inspired the lives of everyone who has been fortunate enough to know her. She brings a passion to the classroom each day that is infectious. Many colleagues have been moved by Razo's humble passion for service and her ability to make a long-term impact on the lives of her students. Razo’s lasting influence on students is evidenced by the fact that every single week, groups of her former students return to Lincoln to give back to the art program by helping at Lincoln’s Art Club. She often gets letters from her former students and INSPIRE mentees who have gone on to thrive in high school and beyond.
Razo is a lifelong advocate for her students and the teaching profession. The entire SD81 learning community congratulates her on this much-deserved nomination.