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Teachers Of Our Past:



With retirement ahead at the end of the year, Howard Kanter has taught art at Algonquin Middle School for 30 years. He runs an art club and sometimes a yoga club where he gets to connect with his students outside of class. Although not the most well behaved student in his younger years, Kanter enjoys teaching and has always seen it as the most logical path. In his free time, Kanter enjoys spending time with family and painting. He also enjoys attending concerts and has seen more than 50 Grateful Dead shows. Over his many years at Algonquin he has made many good and bad memories, but one of his favorite experiences is meeting students whose parents he taught in the past. “It makes me proud of my career when I look back,” Kanter said. In retirement, he looks forward to renting a studio space so that he can be a full time painter. “My favorite part about teaching has been talking about art and music to generations of diverse kids. That has been a gift,” Kanter said.


Emily Magallon teaches seventh and eighth grade Spanish and has taught at both Chippewa and Algonquin Middle Schools. She has coached Poms and led a Spanish club in the past but this year has started a new club, Heading to High School, which prepares middle school students for success at Maine West. Most of her free time is spent taking her two kids on adventures to places like the zoo or nature center. Although Magallon describes her younger self as “super nerdy and quiet,” she has always enjoyed school and even now her favorite part of being a teacher is interacting with her students. “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten. I really like connecting with people and I wanted to be someone who had an impact on people’s lives,” Magallon said.


Leading the drama club, morning video announcements and even the variety show, Chris Hylton has taught music and drama at Chippewa Middle School for eight years. . Finding comfort in music, Hylton was always into music and even got into the top level band his freshman year of high school. “I knew I wanted to continue with music in college, but didn’t want to do music
performance or music business or composition, so education was really the only option,” Hylton said. In his free time, Hylton enjoys playing video games and spending time with his dog who he describes as “the greatest dog that has ever lived.” Hylton is a teacher that many students have at least once at Chippewa, which gives hundreds of students the chance to connect with him. “My favorite part of being a teacher is getting to watch students grow from sixth grade through eighth grade and help kids get through those ridiculously difficult middle school years,” Hylton said.


William Snyder has been teaching physical education and health at Iroquois Community School for the past 13 years, as well as coaching basketball and running the volley- ball program. His favorite memories as a teacher include the staff versus students volleyball games where he gets to show students his competitive side. In his free time, Snyder likes to spend time with his family, exercise and even play fantasy football and baseball with his friends all around the world. As a teenager, Snyder rocked a mullet, loved loud music and was always involved in sports. “Helping students find an activity or sport to maintain lifelong physical fitness is extremely important to me,” Snyder said. “My strengths have always included fitness activities in one way or another.”


As the only teacher to stay at Iroquois since it opened in 1997, Kim Cruz teaches primary literacy and middle school Spanish at Iroquois Community School. Outside of the classes she teaches, Cruz helps coordinate the Patrick Boswell Courage Award in District 62. As an avid Wisconsin Badger fan, she loves to attend football and basketball games with her family whenever she can. She also enjoys hiking in National Parks with her daughter. Cruz describes herself as a shy kid but eventually came out of her shell and was even a class president her sophomore year at Maine West. Her years at Iroquois have come with many good and bad experiences but through them all she finds comfort in the community of teachers, students and families. “Our staff, students and parents have a tremendous amount of support for each other, and that is something that will be a part of me forever,” Cruz said.


For the past 24 years, Wendy Spyrison has taught at Chippewa Middle School. In her time there she has taught life science, reading and social studies but currently teaches sixth grade earth and space science. When not teaching or doing committee work, Spyrison runs clubs such as STEM Club, Board Games, Book Club, and Homework Club. One of her favorite memories from her years of teaching is a Grandparents Day that went wrong when pancake mix was accidentally added to the coffees instead of creamer, and the grandparents were too nice to say anything. In high school, Spyrison was involved in band, orchestra and choir. She took advantage of the opportunities that the school experience offered and hopes to help her students do the same. “My favorite part of being a teacher is working with the students. They are so curious. The best part is when they get excited about the world around them,” Spyrison said.



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