|Jennifer Barnhart||Kim Dassler|
Jennifer Barnhart, a social studies teacher at Cherokee Trail High School, and Kim Dassler, a math teacher at Grandview High School, have been honored with the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award.
This distinguished award has existed for more than three decades. Each year, the University of Chicago invites first-year students to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them or helped them along the path to intellectual growth. The university receives hundreds of nominations from students who were inspired by teachers who changed the course of their lives, who taught them to reimagine texts, to delve deeper into problem-solving and to think beyond the borders of the classroom in pursuit of their own education.
Barnhart was nominated by 2018 CTHS graduate, Joelle Blankson.
“I feel absolutely honored and humbled by this recognition,” Barnhart said. “Working with Joelle, who is an exceptional student, was a real privilege.”
Dassler was nominated by 2018 GHS graduate Ramshankar Balasubramaniyan, who was a freshman in Dassler’s Honors Algebra 2 course when she was a new teacher at Grandview. He also worked with her during his junior and senior years when he was an officer for National Honor Society, for which Dassler was a sponsor.
“I was so touched that Ram, who was an excellent student and such a kind young man, would reflect through all of his years at Grandview and think of me,” Dassler said. “During my first couple of years in a new school, I felt like I was just trying to keep my head afloat, getting to know kids and colleagues and curriculum and culture. To have the reassurance from Ram that I was making a difference in the life a student during what felt like really chaotic early years is a true gift. It makes Grandview feel more like my home five years later.”