Andover Instructors Honored with UChicago Outstanding Educator Award

Several Andover faculty members received the Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Chicago (UChicago). Newly admitted students to UChicago can recognize their previous instructors by nominating them for the award. All teachers who are nominated receive the award. This year’s recipients include Michael Barker, Sarah Driscoll, Andrew Housiaux, Eugene Hughes, Thomas Kane, Kathryn McQuade, Elizabeth Meyer, Kevin O’Connor, and Hijoo Son. These faculty members were celebrated with a virtual event hosted by UChicago on Wednesday, October 21.

Michael Barker, Director of Academy Research, Information, and Library Services

“It is definitely cool and an honor to be recognized by a student. To make any difference in even a single student’s life is what this job is all about… There’s more work to do, and I tend to be more focused on the work in front of me than the work behind me.”

Sarah Driscoll, Instructor in English

“I’ve been thinking deeply about why I got it… We underestimate how pivotal students and colleagues are in making us outstanding, whatever that means. You know, so much of being successful as a teacher relies on the people you work with, the school culture, the student, [and] the caliber of students… It’s really an award for all the people who have allowed me to be successful and have helped me along the way.” 

Thomas Kane, Instructor in English

“It is always humbling and gratifying to be remembered and recognized by a former student… I will confess that I am not a huge fan of the extra attention this time around. That is, I deeply appreciate being remembered, but I’m less of a fan of the hype.”

Kathryn McQuade, Instructor in English

“[Receiving the award is] super gratifying. Just a wonderful honor. I think it makes me feel even more grateful than usual to get to work here with the kinds of students I get to work with.”

Kevin O’Connor, Instructor in English

“I am happy to be recognized along with a number of colleagues for this award because it honors the profession of secondary school teaching. Our present culture does not always sufficiently value the work we do, and hence I am in favor of any award or institution, especially one of UChicago’s caliber, that does so.”

Hijoo Son, Instructor in History and Social Science

“I am really flattered that one of my students nominated me. I feel quite honored. My motto as a teacher here at [Andover] is that it’s a privilege, and my favorite part of the job has been, and I believe will always be, the magic that happens inside of the classroom, and I will never leave that classroom. So for somebody in that classroom who is my student to think that what I love to do, to teach, is commendable, is just a cherry on top.”

Editor’s Note: Andrew Housiaux, Eugene Hughes, and Elizabeth Meyer could not be reached for comment.