LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Gina Enk

Position: AP English and Creative Writing Teacher
School: William Fremd High School
School District: Township High School District 211
City, State: Palatine, IL

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Gina Enk was nominated by a colleague, Kristy Loughin-Vance.

For students and staff alike, Mrs. Enk is someone you can go to for advice, help with assignments/lesson planning, or a new perspective.  She approaches every year an with enthusiasm and hope that is infectious throughout her classroom, the office and the school.

"I am her department chair, but I ask her for more advice that the other way around," said Loughin-Vance. "She has looked out for me with the same compassion and care that she has for her students. Without her care, concern and positivity, our school would be a very different place."

Mrs. Enk gladly takes on 4 AP classes each year and has led both of the AP PLCs. She is the co-director of FHS Writers Week, a week long celebration of published, faculty and, most importantly, student authors. She has worked to help other schools across the nation bring the magic of Writers Week to their schools. Mrs. Enk seeks out input from her students and acts on it, such as when the seniors wanted to do an ABC countdown, or the year she directed the school’s lip dub video in her “spare time.”

"Gina Enk has made a positive impact on almost every aspect of Fremd High School, and her influence is felt district wide," said Loughin-Vance. "I am honored to share a department with her and so proud that each year, our students have the opportunity to learn and grow with the help of Mrs. Gina Enk."



Comments (53)


Emma Pfister Posted 6 months ago

Mrs. Enk is such a special human being and I am so lucky to have her as a teacher. She puts in so much time and effort into having a connection with her students and school. Her dedication to her passion is amazing and shows through in her teaching. Both me and my sister can agree that she is one of the best teachers at Fremd High School. She genuinely cares for her students and offers a open and stress free environment for learning and encourages her students to go outside their comfort zone. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have gotten into as many colleges as I did without her help. She comes in early every, single morning to help students out with their papers. Endless college apps and research papers and she takes it head on with a smile. I do not know what I’d do without her in my life. There is not one bad thing I can think of when I think of Mrs. Enk. She is a light in every students day and deserves so much more than what she is given.

Antonette Minniti Posted 12 months ago

Gina is so deserving of this award because she is a lifechanger! She has impacted so many students and so many of us! She goes above and beyond always...she has the upmost integrity. She has what people like to call the "It" factor. She is passionate, engaged, and dependable. She strikes a great balance between team player and leader. Not only is Gina talented in so many ways, but she is incredibly intuitive. Many times she knows what you need before you do! The qualities that I love about Gina are that she is honest, genuine and inspires other humans to be the best they can be.

Lisa Small Posted 12 months ago

Gina, you inspired me as an adult reader! My favorite book was suggested by you "The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love"...thank you!

Andrea Fritz Posted over a year ago

Gina is so full of love and light. She genuinely wants to see the people around her achieve their best, and she can see the talent in people - students and colleagues alike - that we may not see or be able to pull out of ourselves. For me personally, she's been a constant support, helping me believe in myself as a writer and teacher. She has a way of saying something like, "Of course you can do that." Or, "That's going to be you one day." And when Gina says it, you believe it. And you do it. Simple as that. Gina is special lady, deserving fully of all this love.

Pat Murakami Posted over a year ago

Mrs Enk is not only a great teacher to her students, but a trusted source of reality. Her work with Writer's Week is so inspiring to this former English Major! I love that the entire school takes time to embrace the event - and agree with the speakers or not, it gets the students talking, arguing, writing and presenting! She was the calm in the storm when our daughter was writing essays and we could not have been happier when we learned that her brother has her this year! I can hear Mrs Enk saying :"You trust me to tell you what is wrong with it, trust me to tell you when it is done!" And that is why 100s of students (1000s??) call it ENKlish!

Kurt Tenopir Posted over a year ago

Gina has the rare gift of making those around her strive to be better. As her principal, I have seen this influence on students and staff, and I have felt it, too! Gina is quick with a compliment or praise, and thoughtful in delivering feedback. Great choice for this honor!

Theodhora Koller Posted over a year ago

Gina is beyond words an amazing co-worker. I have known and worked with Gina for the last 20 years. Both teachers and students alike gravitate towards her esteemed skill at capturing an audience with her knowledge. She is the person we all look to for guidance to get our kids to the next level. Her students have such respect for her and it is so obvious the second you walk into her class. Gina is so deserving of this award and it is evident the moment you talk to her or are in her class.

Sandra Enk Posted over a year ago

When I learned that my daughter-in-law, Gina Enk, was nominated for the Lifechanger of the Year Award I felt it was about time that others noticed the qualities that I have seen in Gina over all the years I have known her. As a teacher myself, I know and have seen the positive impact that an outstanding teacher has on his/her students. Gina exemplifies such an educator. Her passion for literature and all things English touches everyone who comes in contact with her. I have been in the audience during Writers Week activities and was quietly proud when I heard students, parents and teachers talking about this wonderful, amazing English teacher, my daughter-in-law. I have watched her talking shop with relatives and friends at parties, helping her children, nieces, and nephews develop better writing skills, suggesting and discussing good books with them. She has a wealth of knowledge that she willingly shares with everyone. In addition to dispensing information Gina is also a great listener which is such an important quality for someone who works with high school young adults. She is not judgmental; she is caring. Gina values education and the importance of sharing one's own knowledge with others in hope of instilling that same love of learning in each of them. I have seen the wonderful results of her work and am grateful for the time, effort and love she puts into education. She embodies what a teacher should be. I am proud, very proud of Gina. You couldn't find a better choice for this award.

John McDonnell Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk works hard to see her students succeed both in and out of the classroom. She’s always setting up events for students to have a creative outlet such as Writers Week and Write nite while also coming in early every day to review students’ writing and provide very helpful feedback. She listens carefully to what her students have to say and really builds a strong connection with them. I would not be at the college I am at with the skills I have without having Mrs. Enk’s guidance. I truly admire her dedication to Fremd and its students, and passing by her in the hallways during senior year when she was no longer my teacher would always make me smile and remember how amazing she made my junior year!

Sabra Posted over a year ago

Gina Enk was one of my very first mentors and at Fremd, and I have had the privilege of calling her my colleague and friend for sixteen years. She guided me with new preps, willingly sharing her materials and allowing me to observe. She continues to share her expertise with me and with colleagues both in and out of our department, even visiting new teacher meetings during her free time. An avid reader, she is the spearhead behind our department book and the quiet leader running Writers Week. She is also my cheerleader, constantly offering positive feedback and support. Warm, inclusive, humble and encouraging, Gina makes all of us- students and colleagues alike- feel valued. She is the best.

Casey Kaldahl Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk was and, to this day, still is far and away the most influential teacher I’ve ever had the pleasure to learn from. Her reach as a teacher and influential figure reaches far past her classroom at Fremd. As a student, Mrs. Enk, day in and out, allowed me, an awkward 16, 17, and then 18-year old, to feel seen and heard in and out of the classroom. It was in her classroom that I was able to develop a voice that has carried me since my years at Fremd. I am forever grateful for the lesson learned, the laughs shared, and the books recommended. I wouldn't trade my time as her student for anything. I can think of no one more deserving than Gina Enk for this nomination and award. She is truly a gift to all she reaches!

Nick Kartsunes Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk, you impacted the direction my life so profoundly. Your class my junior year of high school was the first writing workshop I ever took. It was the first time I realized that the craft of writing a story was something that could be taught. My first couple years of college were pretty rough. I was pursuing a technical degree and racing through as much relevant coursework as possible, as the AP kids at Fremd were prone to do, and I felt super isolated in large lectures which left little time for discussion, eventually winding up on academic probation. Then I enrolled in a writing workshop for creative nonfiction in my junior year, and I rediscovered a lost love I had long given up on. I declared a second major in Creative Writing and I remembered why English class had always been my favorite part of the school day. My grades in my Stats degree came back up after that, and I've felt a growth in my ability to write stories and essays that feels truly rewarding. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have thought to sign up for that class had it not been for the amazing memories I had from your classroom. You are a pillar of excellence in the already rockstar English department at Fremd and a total sweetheart to boot. Thanks so much! I am more grateful to you than you could possibly know. :)

Jess Peterson Posted over a year ago

The best feeling a student in high school can have is realizing someone else is on her team. Mrs. Gina Enk has an incredible way of breaking down the way someone thought they were supposed to write and introducing skills one can carry with them along with a newfound confidence in her life after high school. Gina's classes were what often would get me through the academic day. It was guaranteed to be 50 minutes of discussion between students who weren't being coerced into talking about literature or writing but genuinely wanted to learn. Gina has an effect on people that makes them want to be better. She will tell it like it is but always do so with a smile and a laugh. I am so grateful to have had her on my team and to still be in contact with her (thank you internet!) because she enables the people around her, especially her students, to respect their own ideas and put their best voice forward. I'm so happy Gina is being acknowledged through nomination for this award as, without a doubt, she deserves it completely.

Caitlin Sturges Posted over a year ago

Gina, Just knowing you and being in your presence makes me a better person. Your positivity, guidance and love for everyone and everything around you makes the world an even more amazing place. I am honored to work with you and feel even more honored to know you. Thank you for being YOU.

Moez Dawood Posted over a year ago

I first met Mrs. Enk half-way through my junior year when I had lost almost all my confidence as an English student. Through extenuating circumstances, Mrs. Enk adopted me into her class and from there began 1.5 years of experiences in AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition with Mrs. Enk that I still reflect on to this day. On my very first day in Mrs. Enk’s class, she gave a quiz on assigned reading. As I began this quiz, I realized that this quiz was not a typical assessment. This quiz was itself a learning experience. Mrs. Enk doesn’t ask questions. She creates prompts that steer you towards the deeper meaning of an author’s words and decisions. She points you to clues. She brings two points together and then asks you to make the final connection. So many times she asked multi-layered questions throughout a quiz that would crescendo in “light bulb” moments of understanding. What she expects of her students on these quizzes is to apply what they read and follow the instructions she is giving them under the guise of a quiz to reflect on and understand the different literary devices and decisions an author makes in their writing. This sounds like a very basic thing that many teachers could probably do, but it was by far among the most intellectually stimulating experiences I’ve had throughout high school, undergrad, and grad school. Even better, she would almost always debrief us after a quiz. Many times instead of just announcing possible correct answers, she would call on multiple people to share their enlightening answers for particular questions. She would enthusiastically involve as many students as possible. Mrs. Enk’s enthusiasm and hard work are her constant and defining traits. When you see Mrs. Enk walking though the halls of Fremd, she is always lugging around a bag full of papers, quizzes, drafts, etc. that she is voraciously grading. This point might seem trivial, but I swear she spoiled us with how fast she graded our work. One of these defining feats that she pulls off annually is grading (with very detailed criticisms) 60-90 students’ rough drafts that are 10 pages each in under a week for her AP Lang Comp students. It’s both a nerve-wracking and holy experience to watch her grade. Her visible hard work at trying to make you better is not just motivating but incredibly memorable. Another constant of Mrs. Enk is that she is always reading a new book for pure enjoyment. She talks the talk and walks the walk. During junior year, she explained the literary concept of deus ex machina in the context of the current book we were studying. She told all of us to remember the term and meaning, because she would ask us again when we were seniors. Lo and behold during senior year, we are reading a completely different book in a completely different class. We get to a passage that resolves a situation abruptly and trivially. After a full year, she asks us to explain it and make the deus ex machina connection that only she could have predicted. Mrs. Enk made me appreciate the many intentional small decisions that authors make to give greater purpose and meaning to their works beyond just basic plot points and the explicit definitions of words on a page. She was one of the few teachers whose class I would look forward to, because i knew the learning process in her class was going to be enjoyable. It was never unnecessarily tedious or plodding. Never just the next worksheet or the next random documentary. She genuinely loved her craft She can take a book like As I Lay Dying (one of her favorite books), which on a surface level has an incredibly boring plot, but demonstrate via guided literary analysis that it is in fact one of the most creative works of all time. She can take an enthusiastic English class’s creativity and channel it to create a highly coordinated single-shot, lip-dub, 15+ min music video encompassing 300+ seniors (where many of us don’t necessarily even know each other). (Seeing is believing: https://vimeo.com/43203078 and the behind the scenes: https://vimeo.com/43203079). I reflect back on this event and realize just how rare of a feat this was and am glad years later that she asked me to partake in this event even though it was way outside of my comfort zone. Fundamentally, I’m just really thankful that Mrs. Enk gave me the original opportunity to join her class and the subsequent opportunities to learn from her wisdom. Not only did she slowly show me that I can improve my skills and I should be confident in those skills, but she reoriented my thinking. Till that point I was always very oriented towards science and mathematics and thought that literary skills and advanced communication skills were not skills I needed to invest in. Now 7 years later, as a future physician and cancer researcher I realize that in many circumstances, my ability to empathically communication with patients, or my ability to take my years of cancer research and effectively and concisely explain it, or my ability to find the humanity in science can actually be more important than the science itself. The groundwork for these skills was laid during my 1.5 years in Mrs. Enk’s classes. Mrs. Enk is incredibly deserving of the LifeChanger of the Year Award.

Nancy Dadigan Posted over a year ago

Gina has a love of the English language and literature that she wants to impart to her students not just so they can pass AP tests. She wants them to leave high school with an appreciation of the joys and wonders of a good book so that reading remains an important part of their lives.

Christine Duncker Posted over a year ago

Gina is my sister in law and friend and she has been a life changer in many ways. She has helped her nephew and niece numerous times with English essays and questions and always encouraged them to love English and literature and supported them when they did well in school. She offered advice to my kids about college applications and they always trusted her opinions. As an educator myaelf I have had the pleasure of teaching with a few of her former students who are now teachers themselves. When I tell them I am Mrs. Enk's sister in law they all have so many great memories of her and her engaging classes. They've told me how they remember her as someone who impacted their decision to become a teacher. Mrs. Enk is a life changer for sure!

Marilyn Berdick Posted over a year ago

Gina Enk has been my colleague in the English Department at Fremd for over twenty years, but more importantly, she is also my very good friend. Calling her my colleague and good friend is, truly, an honor as there really is no one like her. Gina and I have often taught the same classes over the years, sharing ideas and lesson plans. She not only has inspired me to try new things in my classroom, but her unwavering support and willingness to listen has often boosted my own self-esteem as a teacher. For years now, my motto has been “Do what Gina tells you” because her advice has never steered me wrong, from challenging me to get my administrative certificate to reading books I would have never thought to read to intense, insightful discussions on why a contestant on Survivor got voted off the island that week. Whenever Gina sees something here at Fremd that needs to get done, she is all over it, working countless extra hours to help both students and colleagues with whatever we may need. Indeed, she is one of the most selfless people I have ever known. I have seen her go above and beyond not only with her own students but also with students in her ESL study hall or who come in for tutoring help. Gina wants to be sure every student she encounters has the best that Fremd has to offer at that student’s disposal. Gina also reaches out across the curriculum, never hesitating to help colleagues in other departments as well. Many years ago, Gina also worked as my assistant on our spring play. Of course, she gladly and cheerfully did everything I asked of her, but she also provided incredible support for both me and the students involved. To this day, I miss working with Gina on our shows. Gina is co-director of Fremd’s annual Writers Week which is a huge commitment of time and energy on her part. She does this job with no monetary compensation. Her amazing love of reading and writing are what motivate her to work so hard on this wonderful event each year. She has encouraged me to share my own writing at Writers Week which has helped me grow immensely in my own writing and in challenging myself to break new barriers. In addition to all she does at Fremd, Gina has also managed to create a pretty incredible life/work balance for herself. I am lucky enough to be friends with her family as well, and they certainly benefit from Gina’s endless energy and enthusiasm just as we do here at school. Gina has the unique gift of making those around her feel truly special. Gina is my friend beyond merely being my colleague. She has helped me through a number of challenging times in my life, gently supporting me and listening so carefully. I’ve also shared quite a lot of laughter and fun times with Gina and her family as well. I cannot think of anyone who would be more deserving of this award than Gina Enk. The cliché is true when it comes to Gina Enk; she truly is an inspiration to anyone who has the privilege of meeting her.

Eric Schaeffer Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk is truly a life-changing person and I honestly believe she leaves her mark on each and every student, teacher, and colleague that comes across her path. I was lucky enough to have her for two years of AP English in High School and I learned so much ranging from test taking skills, literary elements, and even being confident in public speaking. She puts on Writers Week every year which is an incredible event that is hard to put into words, you need to experience it for yourself. During my Junior year Mrs. Enk asked us to help her think of entertaining acts that could serve as a fundraiser for Writers Week. I jokingly said we could have a Haiku battle and she immediately wrote it down and was counting on me to perform. Before meeting Mrs. Enk there was no chance that I would have volunteered to public speak in front of a library full of students, staff, and parents but Mrs. Enk instilled the confidence in me to perform and I will always remember that.

Gary Anderson Posted over a year ago

I have a long view on how Gina Enk has affected the lives of many, many people. First, I was Gina’s cooperating teacher during her student-teaching experience. In the decades since, I have been her colleague, supervisor, then her colleague again, and always her friend. From her earliest days as a professional educator, Gina’s authenticity, compassion, and expertise have drawn others to her. Students and colleagues alike, myself included, have sought her advice on academic, professional, and personal concerns. Her counsel is always based on an empathetic understanding of the problem and includes creative, affirming, life-changing solutions and options. But Gina doesn’t always wait to be asked for advice! Because of her depth of experience, she often sees loopholes and opportunities that are not obvious to others. Especially in those cases, Gina’s passion about education and literacy motivate her to lead others in directions they may not otherwise pursue. I’ve seen it over and over. Gina Enk continues to touch and transform the lives of those lucky enough to be in her orbit. She has been a major influence on thousands of students and colleagues and their journeys to become better thinkers, readers, writers, and leaders, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Sarah Braverman Posted over a year ago

I have been lucky enough to work with Gina for the past 8 years, and I cannot think of a person more deserving of this award. I have seen firsthand how she changes the lives of her students. They talk about her classroom being a safe place that challenges them, encourages them and absolutely changes them. As her colleague, I have been inspired by her creativity, her genuine love of the content and her patience. She is always looking for ways to make a great lesson even better, and I always know that I can go to her with any question, concern or idea. Outside of the classroom, Gina simply makes our school a better place to be. If there is a way to increase school spirit, celebrate student success or support other departments, Gina will be there to help make it happen. I am so lucky to have Gina as a mentor and a friend.

Lauren Dennhardt Posted over a year ago

Gina Enk is a master teacher. As the school librarian, Gina was the “go to” when we had questions about anything literature-related. Hers was always the longest line in the tutoring center. When students past and present would talk about their favorite teacher, her name would inevitably top the list. If my children had attended Fremd High School, I would have moved heaven and earth to insure that they were placed in Gina’s class. She is simply the best.

Mike Bruce Posted over a year ago

I have known Gina for over 20 years and have firsthand knowledge of her impact at our school. We share many of the same students and it’s easy to tell that they hold her in the highest regard. She spends countless hours helping students grow as writers and readers as well as individuals. From college essay edits to co-directing our famed Writers Week and Write Nite programs – Gina helps students (and faculty) find their voices. She looks out for our students and continually strives to improve overall school climate. I know that her support and encouragement has meant a world of difference to students and staff alike. Gina is a true difference maker at Fremd High School and a role model for us all!

Kimberly Roy Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Gina since 1988, living next to her at Douglas Hall at NIU. We became fast friends, and shared a dorm suite together with other dear friends the following year. I always envied Gina as she’d be buried in books at school, working on her education degree and doing what she truly loved so many years ago! Gina invited me to Writers Week a couple of years ago, for Jeremy McCarter’s discussion on Hamilton. I was so impressed by the event and everything that must go into a week like that. I was so proud of Gina. To see her do what she loves and remember her love of reading and writing from the first days I met her almost 30 years ago, simply warmed my heart! Fremd High School is lucky to have her! And I’m sure the school and her students feel the same! I know I’m lucky to call her my friend! Well deserved nomination, Gina!

Linda Kress Posted over a year ago

I knew Gina when she was a little girl next door. I am so proud of the amazing teacher, mentor, life guide she has become. I love how proud her parents must feel to see that their daughter has been a positive influence on so many lives. I wish she could be a trainer for all young aspiring teachers. Congratulations, Gina with love from Gwennie’s mom

Tori Scott Posted over a year ago

I cannot possibly convey just how positively Gina Enk influenced my life in my senior year of high school and beyond. Gina is a teacher who will challenge her students to step up to her class. She understands what engages her students, and her enthusiasm for storytelling comes through to every one of them. I dare you to find another English teacher for whom students actually complete all assigned readings! With me and countless others, Gina would take the time before and after class to engage us even further, whether that be by discussing the assigned book even deeper, suggesting and/or discussing exciting books outside of the curriculum, encouraging me in my creative writing outside of school, or just providing valuable emotional support. I am extremely thankful I have been able to stay in contact with Gina in the 8 years since my high school graduation, because the passion for storytelling she instilled in me in my senior year of high school followed through to my career. Always focusing on going deeper into the texts than the plot, much deeper than any cliffnotes or sparknotes ever went, Gina taught us all how to look for significance in between the lines. What could this grape mean? I mean, no one had ever taught us to question such details. Everything included in a story is in service of the story. That lesson has helped me tremendously, as a script supervisor on film and television crews. Without knowing how to look for significance in the smallest things, I wouldn’t know how to read films and TV as thoroughly as I do now. I wouldn’t have been able to interface so well with directors who have been working since before I was born, to offer up suggestions about our shot coverage, to point out that hey—this tiny but significant moment the screenwriter wrote in here isn’t being given its due but it’s extremely important and we should make sure to highlight it. I’m honestly not sure what else to say. This all sounds so technical, about the classroom and the learning, but Gina Enk truly changed my life by changing the way I look at storytelling. She gifted me a passion, a secret weapon in the success of my career. I cannot thank her enough.

Eshwar Kishore Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk is one of those teachers that make you question your view on what a teacher is. I've had good teachers and I've had great teachers before, but four years ago I was lucky to take a class led by a witty, compassionate, sassy, constructive, friendly, and inspiring educator that I could never forget. I was fortunate to have her for two years of high school that were spent in a collaborative, open forum space. We went on literary journeys as a class with stories that I'll remember less because of the actual writing and more because of the deliberate care Mrs. Enk took in making sure we were understanding each page. We had group discussions where no answer was wrong, but every answer could be better; this fostered a sense of class confidence and camaraderie. When it came to writing, I was always hesitant to show Mrs. Enk my work because I was worried she'd tear it apart. And she usually did. Then, she would work with me to rebuild, strengthen, and truly put effort into what I was creating. I know that I will carry the lessons I learned from Mrs. Enk with me for life. She changed my life and how I viewed literature & composition--and she deserves this award because I know she has brought this to so many other students like myself.

Jay Weber Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk is truly the best teacher I was lucky enough to have had. As a second semester senior, unmotivated in most higher level academic pursuits, she pushed me to not only complete, but take pride in, a full literary criticism of The Age of Innocence. Requiring a thorough review of the existing criticism, as well as an insightful, unique perspective to add to it, the 50 page paper was to this day the most challenging, and rewarding, assignment I've had. After countless revisions and meetings with her before, during, and after school, the 250/250 on the final draft still feels like an accomplishment (more so than graduation just a bit later). She prepared me for college like no other person could have, and help me to discover my love of reading, writing, and teaching. That I am now a third grade teacher and have written two novels is in no small part due to her influence. Her care for students as people is exceptional, and I saw clearly from her what I could be and how wonderful that would be. I currently run a district wide writing program (K-12) and can only hope I have the same type of influence on kids. I would not be doing what I am doing if she had not helped to she me it was both possible, and amazing! Thank you.

tony romano Posted over a year ago

Gina Enk is the best, which sounds cliche, but she really is. She's the best teacher, challenging and inspiring students every day. Just walk into her classroom and you'll want to stay. There's a lightness and a charm she exudes that holds your attention and changes you. Students want to work hard for her; they believe in her, and they believe they will be better themselves for the effort. She's the best reader I know, Herculean in her speed and depth of understanding. She's the best mom, attentive and loving and an example of strength and compassion. She's the best friend, always present when you're with her, always inquisitive, always encouraging you to do your own best. And you do. I am fortunate and happy to call her my colleague and friend. My world is brighter because of Gina Enk!

Sayali Patankar Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk was my junior year English teacher and made me a better writer but also a better student and thinker. She was kind but firm with her teaching style and always very patient. She taught our class to think deeper and through her, I learned to better appreciate non-fiction books. She opened a whole world of literature to me that I was unknown to up to that point. I continue to read the books of the authors that she recommended to us while in her class. Whenever it comes to writing something, whether it is applications for graduate school or capstone projects that are scientific papers, I continue to use the skills that she taught us. Essentially, Mrs. Enk is a teacher whose lessons stay with her students for years to come. I am so thankful I had her as a teacher several years ago and truly believe that I wouldn't be as good of a student and learner today without her advice.

Valerie Pizzato Posted over a year ago

Gina Enk is a phenomenal teacher who goes above and beyond to make sure her students succeed. I was fortunate to have her teaching my AP Literature and Composition class during my senior year. It was truly one of the best parts of my year. Not only did she make class engaging and fun, but she would make sure we were all prepared for the next steps. Most of our early essays in her class were based off themes in the literature we were reading, but were things that could be easily adapted to fit common college application prompts. How brilliant is that! When it came time to write the dreaded college essays, I already had a basis for most prompts. Furthermore, she took time out of her day after school to meet with students in order review their essays- carefully considering the prompt, university that was being applied to, and the individual characteristics of the student. I would not have been nearly as prepared for these applications without her. During Writers Week my senior year, I actually got onstage and read one of my essays for a packed auditorium! Although I have been involved in theater my entire life, I never imagined reading something I wrote to a packed auditorium. Yet, I felt fully comfortable doing so because I knew Mrs. Enk helped me make it the best it could be! Even to this day, I feel much more confident reading things I have written aloud. When I got to undergrad (which was NYU), I was easily one of the most prepared students. The first paper I turned in to any professor was met with awe as to my ability to craft stories and analyze text in a proper academic format. I consider Gina Enk the primary reason I have such strong writing skills to this day. I am now in graduate school (business school), and although I am not studying anything specifically English related, I still use things that she taught me every day. She taught me a strong skills not only in writing, but in analysis. I know that I feel comfortable determining how to think about something I read/encounter and support that analysis because of the skills I learned in her class. Gina Enk certainly was a "Life Changer" for me! She is incredibly supportive and truly helps people achieve their goals.

Rukmini Girish Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk’s quizzes in AP Lit were the stuff of legend; everybody who had taken her classes warned me that they were incredibly difficult. But when I stumbled across one a couple of weeks ago, I realized that it was in those AP classes that I began thinking critically about characters, books and authors, a skill that served me well in college and grad school, and as a reviewer today. But the best thing about Mrs. Enk? Her care and enthusiasm for her students’ creative writing. I took two creative writing classes with her, and, even after a college major in creative writing and an MFA in nonfiction, I can say that she is one of four writing teachers who has most influenced the way I think about my writing. She pushed us to experiment and to be intentional, both of which remain fundamental principles of my writing practice today.

Gretchen Coleman Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Enk is a truly life changing teacher, and she is definitely among the best I had in high school. She expertly managed the balance of having both a productive classroom where we debated humanity and ethics while also creating a fun atmosphere where we were all happy to be in class every day - my senior year English class had the strongest community feeling I have ever had in a class. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Enk is revered for her work organizing our annual Writers Week, a tradition unique and beloved to our school. I owe so much to Mrs. Enk and her patience throughout my whole college application process; she painstakingly edited every essay I wrote and made sure I presented my best self to my colleges. I couldn’t be at the university I’m at today without her constant support and encouragement. Thank you so much for all you do, Mrs. Enk!

Joe Brottman Posted over a year ago

There are only a few teachers in your life that your remember forever. They are the ones who made you stronger, cared about you, and supported you outside of just the curriculum. Gina Enk was and is one the best educators that I have ever had. She has supported me to this day in my career, and I can not think of a more deserving candidate for this award. She is a life changer, a teacher, and my friend.

Katie Oakes Posted over a year ago

I took Mrs. Enk’s AP English class ten years ago, and still look back on it as one of the most formative classes of my high school experience. She is an incredibly compassionate teacher, but also pushes her students to grow in a challenging environment. It is in her class that I learned how to prepare and write a long-form research paper — I remember sitting in my family room surrounded by hundreds of notecards —which prepared me for college better than any other course. Writers Week was also formative for me, giving me the chance to hear from professional writers and, more importantly, my fellow students, teaching me the value of listening to everyone’s story.

Amy Pine Posted over a year ago

I taught English with Gina Enk for thirteen years. When I was a new teacher, I looked up to her for her intelligence, her enthusiasm, her ability to change and grow with students' needs, and her willingness to share her wealth of knowledge from everything to subject area content to how she manages to to teach multiple AP classes, stay on top of her grading, and still have the sought after work-life balance. Gina convinced me to teach AP Literature when I didn't think I could handle it. Spoiler alert: it was the my favorite of all the classes I taught at Fremd. She was a true mentor and friend so that even after thirteen years in the classroom, I still looked up to her for all those qualities I admired when I first entered the profession. Even though we now work at different schools, the same rings true today. Congrats on the nomination, Gina! You are a life changer for the students you teach and the colleagues with whom you work--me included!

Theresa Christensen Posted over a year ago

I cannot think of a more deserving teacher for this recognition. I feel honored and lucky to feel Gina's impact both as a colleague and a parent. My daughter was in her AP Literature course years ago, and the pure, earnest joy of reading that Gina shared with her students was clearly evident when my daughter would come home consistently excited to talk about discussions in Mrs. Enk's class. Mrs. Enk goes that extra mile to make learning challenging and relevant while making the students feel comfortable enough to take risks and have fun while doing so! As a colleague, I've turned to Gina many times for advice, and she graciously offers an ear of support. In our AP Language PLT, Gina's calm presence and great ideas make me look forward to our meetings. Gina truly does make a positive impact on each and every teacher who works alongside her, and I’m sincerely honored to be one of them.

Judy Klingner Posted over a year ago

Gina is an incredible teacher, a wise mentor, and a compassionate human. Although I started teaching at Fremd High School ten years before Gina was hired, I consider her to be MY mentor. Whether I’m seeking advice about the curriculum, a teaching strategy, or the next book I should read, Gina is my go-to girl. She makes time for EVERYONE! I am proud to call her my colleague and my friend.

Megan Dincher Posted over a year ago

As a former student who is now an English teacher herself, Mrs. Enk is one of my role models. She has always been supportive, and she's gone from being a supportive and encouraging teacher to a supportive and encouraging colleague (even from 400 miles away). She's always there with book recommendations, thought-provoking questions, and an ear to listen. Mrs. Enk genuinely loves her students and the work that they do together, which is what makes it 1) so much fun and 2) so memorable. She's a true believer that the best books are the ones with sad endings, but she never wants that to be the story of her students--she's there every step of the way to challenge you and support you and make you a more critical and well-rounded reader, writer, and person.

Will Shih Posted over a year ago

Mrs Enk is one of those people that fundamentally alters the trajectory of your life just by coming in contact with it. No one is more deserving of this award.

Russ Anderson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Gina Enk is a leader in the classroom, in the department, and in her field. Her students and colleagues learn more from her than they even realize, and our community is a better and more thoughtful place because of her guidance and perspective. I am proud to work alongside her. She inspires me daily.

Beth Grossman Posted over a year ago

Gina challenges, stretches, encourages and supports her students. She is calm and steady in a sea of ‘achievers’. Her professional standard is excellence; she requires that of herself and sets the example for her students. Fremd is lucky to have her on staff!

Jan Spears Posted over a year ago

Gina is one of those few people who is there for everyone with a kind word or a listening ear. Staff, faculty and students alike respect and look up to her

Jaclyn Han Posted over a year ago

Gina is a trusted colleague and friend who has been a mentor to me. Now, as a counselor as well as an English teacher, students always mention Mrs. Enk when I ask them about favorite classes and teachers. Students view her as their champion, she is funny, approachable, fair, and pushes her students to find the best in themselves.

Jaclyn DiPasquale Posted over a year ago

As a former student AND colleague of Gina Enk, I am not surprised she was nominated for this honor. It actually surprises me that this is the first time she’s been nominated because she is so deserving. Gina is such a genuine person and educator and her commitment to her students is unwavering. Thank you for making a difference in my and so many other students’ lives, Mrs. Enk!

Amanda Ganas Posted over a year ago

Gina is amazing! She is a phenomenal teacher and always there to support both students and teachers!

Caleb Friend Posted over a year ago

Gina is an exemplary educator. She cares for her students and for her colleagues. As a more junior educator who worked with Gina for a year, Gina supported me and made me a better teacher. Gina deserves to be recognized for the exemplary work she does every day for young people.

Becky Schomer Posted over a year ago

Gina Beltramo Enk not only changes and enhances the lives of her students, but she also inspires and enhances the experiences of her colleagues. As a second year teacher of AP Language and Composition, Gina’s support and guidance have been invaluable to me. She is deserving of any and all accolades awarded to her!

Natalie Soto Posted over a year ago

Gina is simply the best. She has helped me tremendously since I have known her. She took time out of her busy schedule on numerous occasions to help me as I was working on my own Masters coursework in English. During that time, she gave me invaluable advice, not just for my paper but also for my teaching. When the AP German exam changed its format to include a persuasive essay component a few years back, I knew I had to get help from the best. Gina worked with me to develop a plan to help my students succeed on that portion of the exam. My students have performed extremely well on that portion of the exam every year since and that is largely due to Gina’s efforts. It’s rare to find someone so willing to take the time to help a colleague when there is absolutely no direct benefit for themselves. But that’s the kind of selfless colleague Gina is. She makes our school a better place every day and always does so with a smile on her face.

Arron Posted over a year ago

Thanks for making a difference in the ESL world too. Bringing your mainstream students into ESL resource last year helped ELs connect to FHS.

Geri Dismeier Posted over a year ago

I have been privileged to work with Mrs Enk both as a colleague and as a parent. Gina served with me as a service club sponsor for many years. She was dedicated to raising up leaders and promoting students to give of themselves in a servant capacity! As a parent I had a glimpse of the impact she is able to have on her students. My daughter had Mrs Enk for 2 years of AP English. Not only did she receive AP credit for English she opened up my daughter’s eyes to her love of the written language. Mrs Enk was one of her favorite teachers and it was always her favorite period of the day! Thank you Gina for all that you do to serve the students of Fremd HS.

Megha Mathur Posted over a year ago

I didn't have Mrs. Enk as a teacher, but definitely benefited from her support when I was applying to colleges. Mrs. Enk was in the tutoring center during my lunch period and she was an absolute lifesaver in helping brainstorm and edit my college application essays. Always thoughtful, compassionate, gentle, and filled with excellent ideas! I loved that she was willing to support students that were not technically "her" students, and for that I'm grateful!

Rob Coleman Posted over a year ago

Mrs Enk was a fantastic teacher for both my girls. For daughter 2, all year she was college essay editor of choice. Truly a dedicated instructor and a wonderful person.