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SDCOE Teacher of the Year – Cindy Stallo

Cindy Stallo SDCOE 2022 Teacher of the Year

Cindy Stallo, SDCOE’s teacher of the year, knew in 6th grade that she wanted to be an educator someday thanks to Mrs. Luff.

“Mrs. Luff was a creative, kind, adventurous teacher,” Stallo explained. “She connected deeply with us students and got to know our families. She created a beautiful culture inside of our classroom, and my memories of that year were that school was fun. Mrs. Luff challenged students and met them where they were. I remember as an 11-year-old that her job seemed incredibly fun, and I wanted to have the same impact she had on others.”

It’s that desire to have an impact on students and encourage them to use their voices that made her stand out to the panel selecting SDCOE’s Teacher of the Year, said Jill Roth-Tellier, a member of the panel.

“Her commitment to increasing student engagement, parent involvement, and community connections make her a wonderful representative for SDCOE as she advocates for our students, families, and educators,” Roth-Tellier said.

Stallo’s first education job was a teacher assistant for Juvenile Court and Community Schools at the now-closed Barrett High School. There, she realized that there was an opportunity to reach students who hadn’t found success in other educational settings.

“They had struggled or failed in every classroom and had been virtually given up on before they came to us,” she said. “It was then that I decided I not only wanted to teach, but to do so in an environment where I could truly make a difference.”

Stallo now works as an education specialist at 37ECB in Normal Heights. Before that, she worked at Reflections Central School, Monarch School, and Hillcrest School.

She is consistently advocating for and collaborating with students and parents in a way that fosters inclusion, engagement, and connection, said Gretchen Rhoads, principal at 37ECB.

“Ms. Stallo infused our site with just the right amount of kindness, energy, and accountability necessary to keep our forward momentum,” Rhoads said. “I am humbled and honored every day to see Ms. Stallo interact with students and her peers, building strong, lasting relationships.”

Throughout her career, Stallo has focused strongly on creating extracurricular programs that help students turn their lives around through healthy activities, human connection, and the feeling of success. These include a successful running program, school gardens, CrossFit training, and volunteer work. 

“I truly believe that personal accomplishments and connections with the community drive our students to success in the classroom by connecting them to the best version of themselves and to the staff who are committed to them,” she explained.

Stallo believes that every student has the right to a safe and structured environment where a teacher creates a community of learning. She empowers her students to drive the learning process.

Manny, a student at 37ECB said that Stallo deserves the honor of teacher of the year because she works collaboratively with students to incorporate their feedback into lessons.

“She’s a really good teacher,” he explained. “She’s always there when you need help.”

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