- Morton Schapiro Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award
Distinguished Secondary School Teaching Award
This award program, sponsored by the Office of the President with the cooperation of the School of Education and Social Policy, and supported by the Associated Student Government, recognizes the transforming power of high school teachers in our lives and our communities.
2023 Award Recipients
Deepshikha Ahlawat has taught for 15 years at Nathaniel Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California. Chair of the school’s social science department since 2016, she teaches Advanced Placement, honors, and at-level social science and history courses and has sponsored the UNICEF, Chess, Ping-Pong, and South Asian Clubs. In addition, she is a teacher facilitator for the Solanki Teacher Scholar Program in the Yadunandan Center for India Studies at California State University, Long Beach, and a guiding teacher at CSULB and the University of Southern California. For more than a decade she has served as an Advanced Placement reader and exam leader for the College Board. Ahlawat began her teaching career in Delhi, India, and then taught for four years at Alain LeRoy Locke High School in Los Angeles. “When I first learned about this award, Ms. Ahlawat was the first person who came to mind,” says student nominator Almaya Wiley-Yancy of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “Her classroom was a safe space for me and the first place where history piqued my interest. Today that is the major I will be graduating in.” Ahlawat earned BAs in geography and education from the University of Delhi and an MA in geography from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Colette Beausoliel has taught life and physical sciences since 1993 at John F. Kennedy High School in Tamuning, Guam, where she chairs the science department and also serves as profile committee data analyst. She has chaired the school’s accreditation resources committee and has coached engineering and design teams, including Real World Design Challenge teams that won the US national championship for three consecutive years and the international championship twice. Previously she taught for four years at Guam’s Inarajan High School. Recipient of the University of Guam’s 2000–2001 AECI outstanding teacher award, she was also voted Kennedy High School’s 2012–13 teacher of the year. Student nominator Yvan Chu of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science praises Beausoliel as “a pioneer of STEM education in Guam who brought world-class engineering education and extracurricular activities to an underfunded school district. She is the most impactful teacher I have ever had.” Beausoliel received a BS in biology and postbaccalaureate secondary science teaching certification from the University of Arizona and an MS in environmental science from the University of Guam. She has also earned Guam secondary science and master educator secondary science certifications as well as five specialty certifications from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.
Joseph Graciosa has taught since 2017 at Chicago’s Eric Solorio Academy High School, where he created and chaired the school’s inaugural computer science department. He also helped start the robotics team and served as its adviser, in addition to advising the school’s DREAM team for undocumented students and allies. He began his professional life as a research assistant at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Center for Pain Studies but left after seven years to pursue a teaching career, subsequently holding a yearlong Chicago teacher residency with the Academy for Urban School Leadership and then teaching for two years at Chicago Tech Academy High School. Student nominator Lorenzo Rivera of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences says that Graciosa “embodies what a giving human being is. As a Wildcat himself, he exemplifies Northwestern’s striving for excellence and inclusion without expecting anything in return.” Graciosa studied computer science at Northeastern Illinois University, earned an MA in secondary education teaching at National Louis University, and holds a BA in chemistry from Northwestern, where he founded and led the Kaibigan Filipino Students’ Association.
Jason Stanford has taught social studies since 2012 at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, where he has also taught reading for below-grade-level students, served on the literature team, and led the development of the AVID program to prepare minority, low-income, and first-generation students for college. In addition, he founded the school’s mock trial team and sponsored it for 10 years, leading the squad to five years of consistent top-10 finishes in local, national, and international high school competitions. Beyond Niles West, Stanford organized and led the annual Mock Trial Invitational at the Skokie Courthouse, an event that grew from 20 participants to over 300 in its first seven years. Student nominator Irena Petryk of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences says that Stanford “helped me become a more effective leader and taught me the value of generosity. As I leave Northwestern for new experiences, it is his kindness, selflessness, and dedication that I hope to embody.” Stanford received a BS in political science from Illinois State University, a BA in history and secondary education from Northeastern Illinois University, an MA in political and justice studies from Governors State University, and an endorsement in teaching reading from Olivet Nazarene University.
Michael Van Krey
Michael Van Krey has taught Japanese since 1997 at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, where for 10 years he was also professional development cochair. He has sponsored multiple after-school clubs, including a Japanese Calligraphy and a Tea Ceremony Club. As the school’s Japan exchange coordinator, he has led 12 two-week student tours of Japan, hosted annual visits by students from ETHS’s Japanese sister school, and overseen all necessary fundraising. Previously Van Krey was an assistant language teacher through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme at Japan’s Kanonji Daichi High School. Recipient of a Fulbright-Hays scholarship, an Aurora Foundation scholarship, and US-Japan Foundation grants, he has given presentations at multiple conferences and was a member of a winning teacher team for the Goldman Sachs Foundation for Excellence in International Education’s High School Prize. Student nominator Liam O’Carroll of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science says, “When I think of Mr. Van Krey, I think of excellence—excellence in teaching, creating community, and giving once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to so many students.” Van Krey earned a BA in biology and BM in bassoon performance from Lawrence University and a master’s in arts education and certificate of advanced study in educational leadership at National Louis University.