West Campus Staff Member of the Month encourages independent thinking
On this Friday morning in AP Physics II, West Campus physics Teacher Ryan Ellison is running through a few calculations about protons and electrons. After a time, he tells his students to continue problem-solving on their own, while he checks in on those with questions.
“I try to treat them as adults,” says Ellison. “This is their education. They own it.”
His approach to teaching earned him seven nominations, mostly from students, for the district-wide Staff Member of the Month Award. Still, Ellison says, he was pleasantly surprised to receive the award for October.
“I work with so many wonderful colleagues,” he says.
Ellison considers himself fortunate to have high-level students taking his high-level classes. Still, the material isn’t easy. Several of the seven nominations made note of the fact that Eillison goes above and beyond to make sure students truly understand what they are learning.
“He makes a really hard and complex class fun, which is a really hard thing to do,” wrote Sydney Shea, a West Campus senior, in her nomination.
Junior Ciara Duncan said Ellison has made her a better student not only in his class, but other classes, as well. “I have not known Mr. Ellison for long, but he has made such a positive impact on me in that short time,” Duncan wrote in her nomination.
Ellison, who also coaches boys varsity golf, says he tries to connect with all students at their level, and invites them to take an active role in learning. “We figure out problems together than having me tell them how to solve it,” he says.
A Cary-Grove High School graduate, Ellison has taught physics at West Campus 13 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Illinois State University, and master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction, differentiated instruction and teacher leadership.
MCHS launched the new Staff Member of the Month program this school year to recognize a staff member from East Campus and West Campus for going above and beyond for students. Each recognized staff member receives a plaque and a gift certificate to either Meat and Potato Eatery or Brunch Cafe.
MCHS is grateful for the support of business partner Ted Zatos for providing the gift certificates.