Elizabeth (Ibby) Gilmore has been named 2015 Minnesota Adult Basic Education (ABE) Teacher of the Year by Literacy Action Network. The award recognizes outstanding performance as an ABE teacher.
Gilmore has been a teacher for nearly 40 years, 33 of which she has served in Osseo Area Schools. She taught math at all levels for 18 years at North View and for one trimester at Maple Grove Senior High. For the past 15 years she has been an ABE teacher, educating adult learners in math.
“Many of the adults we teach are parents of children in K-12. By helping them improve their skills they are becoming better parents,” said Gilmore. “Most of my students have been immigrants and refugees and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to get a basic education. It is so rewarding to receive many ‘thank yous’ and to be treated with such respect. Teaching adult learners is the best job I have ever had.”
Gilmore was nominated by fellow ABE teachers, Nancy Johnson and Meg Roeske.
“Ibby’s willingness to go above and beyond, and her true love of teaching demonstrate her commitment to the students and to our program,” said Johnson. “I feel she has a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to share.”
ABE Coordinator Julie Pierce echoes Gilmore’s perspective that adult education really is an embodiment of the district’s mission to reach all students.
“We really mean ALL students; our oldest student was 83,” Pierce said. “Adult learners have dreams and want to contribute to community and engage in a lifetime of learning. They are change agents for themselves, their families and their communities. To have a little piece in helping them achieve success is incredibly rewarding.”
Pierce says adult learners are inspiring by their sheer motivation to find a way to fit education into their already complex lives of jobs, families and other responsibilities; a feat often requiring many of them to wake as early as 4 a.m. and work throughout the evening hours at jobs, with families and household responsibilities plus classwork.
“They value this and they always come back for Ibby. She makes a real connection with them,” said Pierce. “Many of our students come back and tell Ibby about their success.”
Gilmore is the sixth Osseo Area Schools employee in the past two years to be recognized with the highest state-level award provided in their profession.
-Published Sept. 3, 2015