LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Julie Ahern

Position: Second Grade Teacher
School: Andrew Cooke Magnet School
School District: Waukegan Community Unit School District 60
City, State: Waukegan, IL

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Julie Ahern was nominated by Yuri Lopez, the parent of a student. This is the fifth year Ms. Ahern has been nominated for LifeChanger of the Year. She has been nominated each school year from 2013-14 onward.

According to Lopez, no one displays a proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students more than Ms. Ahern. Lopez' daughter had a rough start in school thanks to bullying in first grade.

"You can imagine how scared I was to send my daughter to school for second grade that fall, but little did we know that we would be graced with an amazing, caring teacher," Lopez said.

Ms. Ahern took the time to make Lopez' daughter feel calm and at peace during the first few days. She introduced her to many amazing programs that will help her grow, and to valuable technology that is becoming a staple of modern life. Within the first two weeks of school, Ms. Ahern sent home a pledge of how each child in the classroom should expect to be respected and respect their peers. 

"I honestly cried when I saw how much this meant to a teacher who didn't even know what had happened to my daughter," Lopez said. "My daughter told me every day when she had a chance how amazing and awesome her teacher was. I waited a few months before I let her know that my daughter had been a victim to bullying. Her concern and care for my child will always resonate...She truly enjoys being a teacher and a person who truly loves and cares for each one of her students."

Ms. Ahern has always gone above and beyond to make all students, both past and present, comfortable with taking positive steps towards their future. She takes it upon herself to raise funds for her students' projects at whatever cost. She is always the first teacher to see what she can do to help her students get through life with a more positive mindset.



Comments (7)


Cynthia Kasper Posted over a year ago

Julie Ahern is an amazing and accomplished teacher who seems to have a magician's hat for providing amazing and innovative tools for her students to utilize in her second grade classroom. She has resources and materials that you would be lucky to find in a high school science lab. Mrs. Ahern is continually discovering new ways to reach all of her students' learning styles through a variety of hands-on projects and experiences. She is a valued member of the Cooke staff who continually provides extra resources for her students and the teachers with her grant writing talents, time, and efforts.

Garrett Collier Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ahern was my 2nd grade teacher. She is such an amazing teacher and human being. She cares so much about her students. If she hears about bullying, she’s one of the very few teachers who WILL do something about it. She is and will always be the best teacher I’ve ever had.

Mary Deram Posted over a year ago

We were blessed to have Mrs. Ahern as my daughters 2nd grade teacher. She goes above and beyond for her students. She is always exposing them to new ideas and the possibilities of the future. She amazes me at how resourceful she is. If there is a new tool/technology that she thinks will inspire her students, she goes for it. Whether it's a donorschoose project, Pledgecents, contest, etc, she finds the means to provide for her students the exposure and experience to new technologies to help them dream big. In an underserved school district, this is not an easy feat. Mrs. Ahern has such a passion for teaching. She is always so enthusiastic about her students and teaching. She helps student love learning which is what I think school should be all about. We love Mrs. Ahern! She is one of a kind!

Claudia V Burleson Posted over a year ago

Julie Ahern is what any teacher should strive to be. She goes above and beyond for her students and her school. She is innovative and tries to teach her students skills that will help them in the future. She is truly a remarkable teacher.

Teresa Pimentel Posted over a year ago

My daughter had Mrs. Ahern three years ago for second grade and loves her. Every time my daughter visits Cooke she makes an effort to see Mrs. Ahern. My daughter was also going through a difficult time her second grade year and Mrs. Ahern was very supportive and helped her with connecting her with specific resources to help her with her issues. Mrs. Ahern' she style of teaching is very engaging, informative and fun. She taught text book style and real life style also which gives students insight to real world smarts you need to have in addition to typical second grade academics. She is an amazing impactful teacher! One of the best teachers ever!

Ruth Ron Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ahern, a teacher at Cooke Magnet School, that is very deserving to be "Lifechanger of the Year". Not only does she touch the life of her students but also goes the extra mile for the entire school. She is very caring and her enthusiasm to share her knowledge with her students is very present in her classroom. She is also very accessible to her students, as well as parents. Not one email goes unanswered, even if it's just an email to let her know my daughter wasn't feeling well and would not be in class, Mrs. Ahern with a quick response "Hope she feels better". These are just a few of Mrs. Ahern's great qualities as a teacher but also a great person.

Jennifer Garcia Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ahern is my oldest daughter's favorite teacher of all time, and she just graduated HS. Mrs. Ahern is a loving, caring teacher. She brings so much effort and enthusiasm each year to Cooke and all of its students. She is and always was a terrific asset to her students, our PTO, and Cooke.