ELMHURST – Elmhurst native and York High School alumna Jennifer O'Donnell has won the Distinguished Educator of the Year award from Community Unit School District 300, where she is a teacher.
The former Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra member teaches fifth and sixth grade orchestra students at Lakewood School in Carpentersville. With 240 students, O'Donnell was nominated for her innovative teaching methods and enthusiasm.
"She loves working with those kids," said Jennifer's mother, Debbie O'Donnell.
Seven years ago, Jennifer O'Donnell began teaching at Lakewood as her first job after college. She follows in the footsteps of her late father, Dennis O'Donnell, who also taught sixth grade.
O'Donnell was one of six other nominees in the district. After graduating from York Community High School in 2002, she went on to receive her bachelor's degree from Augustana College and her master's degree from Northwestern University, both in music education.
O'Donnell also has played with the Jan Sobieski String Quartet and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra's summer programs.