Rita Leary – 7th-8th Science and Social Science at Ashburn Community Elementary School – Chicago, IL
Rita has a teaching career that has spanned 3 decades and 2 continents from suburban Wisconsin to rural East Africa to inner-city Chicago. Her entire journey has been flavored by personal connections to students and families through food. This doorway to human interaction is also the threshold to health and human agency. There is joy in bringing young learners to the realization of their great power in the nutritional choices they make.
Together, she explores the vast and valuable cultures that make up their collective student body. Students learn the value, purpose, and significance of food. Students plan and execute healthy snack menus. Students reflect on the nutritional choices they make each day. Ashburn students are whole people, and she welcomes the opportunity to reach them on the academic, social, emotional, and nutritional levels.