Heather Pedziwiatr – 1st Grade at Lawndale Community Academy – Chicago, IL
Heather (known as Ms. P in her school community) is a third-year teacher at Lawndale Community Academy on Chicago’s west side. She has a degree in chemistry, and post-undergrad worked in a CPS school as a classroom assistant. She knew then that she was called to teach. After receiving her Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Chicago’s Urban Teacher Education Program she began working with first graders at LCA.
Heather believes strongly in the individuality and humanity of each child, treating every child as an autonomous human even though they’re only 6 years old. Working in a system as large as Chicago Public Schools has its challenges, but Heather makes sure to find time in her classroom to play, explore, and socialize every single day. Students are encouraged to stand in their own power, solve their own problems, and make their own decisions. Kids are infinitely capable if we just get out of their way! Heather is passionate about quality early childhood education, as these years are profoundly impactful on children’s development. In her free time, she loves to cook and ride her bike around the city. She is an avid plant lover and has over 50 houseplants, some of which inevitably become classroom plants each year.