Ridgewood High School teacher Tristan Kumor was recently selected as a 2019 finalist out of a pool of 550 candidates for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“I am just happy to be nominated and excited to see Ridgewood receive recognition for all of the amazing things this school does for our kids,” he said.
The 32 finalists, selected for the first time statewide instead of just Chicago and the collar counties, will be observed in the classroom by the selection committee, with winners announced this spring.
Kumor said Ridgewood has given him several opportunities to provide students with an education that meets their needs.
“I see myself as more a guide and mentor to the kids in helping them reach their goals,” he said. “Without their motivation, work ethic, and passion I wouldn't be up for this award.”
Kumor, who is pursuing a doctorate in education technology, teaches courses in algebra I, algebra II and geometry in construction.
“I think it is important for my students to understand how they can apply their learning,” he said. “These classes have a ton of applications to construction, business/finance, and other daily life tasks. In our geometry in construction class, our students built our school's baseball press box while learning geometry skills.”
Principal Chris Uhle said Kumor is deserving of recognition.
“Tristan has consistently been at the top,” he said. “We rely on him heavily to model and lead by example of what we’re looking for. He is a member of a ton of our committees and our teams who are tasked with rolling out this competency work that we’re doing.”
Uhle said Kumor is the expert at technology and is a great resource to those on staff at Ridgewood High School.
Kumor said he tries to “get the most out of every single minute of the teaching day and encourage my students to do the same.”
He said his passion for education started when he was in high school.
“I just wanted to have a career where I could make a positive impact on someone’s life,” he said. “Hopefully, I have done that.
Those who win the award receive a $5,000 cash award, a paid spring sabbatical and become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.