O’Fallon School District 90 Board of Education honored it’s January Teacher and Staff of the Month Awards at its Jan. 16 board meeting.
Mark Donahue, Fulton and Carriel junior highs band instructor and director, was the honored teacher and Eric Taylor, a Carriel program aide, was the recognized staff member. The January award sponsor was Todd Stonewater of Edward Jones.
New to O’Fallon SD 90, Taylor has made an impression on many by forming “positive relationships with both staff and students,” according to Carrie Hruby, district superintendent.
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In fact, he was voted by students as a ‘Staff Cougar of the Month’ for the month of September.
The students respect and trust Taylor, according to Hruby.
Hruby said, the students wrote, “this staff member is new to the school, but not new to the profession. He has a lot of experience working with students and it shows. He has a great attitude and works well alongside teachers and helping students. He is very friendly and easy going.”
Taylor recently moved to the O’Fallon area from Massachusetts where he served as an aide for 11 years, Hruby said.
“Along with his experience, he brings a wealth of knowledge and insight that is making a positive effect in the special education classroom,” Hruby said.
With a compassionate heart, Hruby said Taylor’s peers said, he works tirelessly to make sure he is attentive to the students’ wants and needs.
“He is a very reflective person who often shares various strategies to try and assist with the challenges the students face. He always remains positive and faces every day as a fresh start, encouraging the students to do the same as well,” Hruby said.
Spearheading the music and band program for fifth through eighth grade at Carriel and Fulton junior high schools, Donahue is “enthusiastic and instrumental,” Hruby said.
“In his short time in the district, he has established a top notch band program for fifth-eighth grade students with enrollment continuing to increase to the impressive number of nearly 500,” Hruby said.
His passion for music, creative talents and sense of humor allow him to easily connect with students.
According to his peers and staff, Hruby said, “students enjoy his approach and appreciate the learning experience he provides.”
O’Fallon SD 90 is one of the top 10 junior high school bands in the state, which Hruby said is just one measure of his success with students.
“For the last two years, the Symphonic Winds have demonstrated a level of music performance that rivals many high school bands, and under Donahue’s leadership, they have developed a passion for this superior performance opportunity and have done an excellent job representing District 90,” Hruby said.
Donahue oversees an incredible group of volunteers to support the band program needs, Hruby said.
“Together with the help of the volunteers and their fund raising efforts as well as the addition of a band instructor, Mr. Donahue is able to seek performance opportunities and push the students to excel in the fine arts area,” Hruby said.