Rosie Hayes
Rosie Hayes
14 June, 2022

d'Overbroeck's teacher wins University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award

d'Overbroeck's mathematics teacher Leon O'Rourke was thrilled this week when he was unexpectedly contacted by the University of Chicago and told he was named as Outstanding Educator Award winner. The University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award web page states, "They think carefully about their instruction. They share an infectious love for learning. They care about their students, both inside and outside the classroom. Outstanding educators go beyond everyday teaching and leave an impression that is carried over a lifetime. UChicago gives newly admitted students the opportunity to recognize the educators who have made a difference in their lives. And every year the incoming class responds with stories that are truly inspiring." Anyone who has seen Leon in action would agree that he fits this bill perfectly, and we are so happy to see that Leon has been recognised. Leon is a valuable member of staff who is very involved in the school, even taking on additional duties alongside his regular mathematics teaching as a basketball coach and as coordinator of the student council. d'Overbroeck's students choose to apply and attend universities both in the UK and around the world after their time with us, and in this instance Leon's nomination came from one of our students, Sasha, who wrote his recommendation as well as successfully applying to the University of Chicago. Each year, newly admitted students have the opportunity to select educators who go beyond everyday teaching and leave an impression that is carried over a lifetime.
Leon said about his role at d'Overbroeck's and the surprise award, "I am a teacher of Mathematics and Director of studies with the majority of my teaching based at the Sixth Form. I am also lucky enough to be the staff coordinator to our Student Representative Council, working with them on representing student views as well as creating the Yearbook and Leavers' Dinner. The University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award took me totally by surprise but was thanks to a nomination put forward by one of my Further Maths students Sasha. Sasha will be joining the University of Chicago this year and was offered the opportunity as an incoming student to nominate someone they believed was an 'outstanding educator'. I am very much touched that Sasha felt I was deserving of such an honour and even more so that he took the time to write about why he thought I was deserving. Naturally, it is a lovely award to receive, especially as it comes from a student nomination. I hope that I can continue to be deserving of such an accolade from now on. I always speak to others of how lucky I am to work at d'Overbroeck's. The ethos of our school engenders the perfect environment for encouraging our students and preparing them for the independence that comes with the next stage of their lives. Fundamentally, it is the students who make the difference and I think the general atmosphere of our school encourages these types of students to flourish. I look forward to what the coming years bring here and the new challenges that come with every new year group.
We are delighted that Leon has received this honour, and it is a great example of the transformational impact our incredible teachers have on our students here. The web page and past winners can be viewed here.