U-46 Team Member Celia Banks

Celia Banks, Coordinator of Elementary Literacy and Libraries and Acting Director of Curriculum and Instruction 

What are some of your daily work responsibilities?

I coordinate, support, provide and facilitate professional development, the selection of resources and curriculum writing for literacy and our elementary libraries. In addition, for my role as Acting Director of Curriculum & Instruction, I support the work of all the content coordinators. 

How long have you worked for U-46?

Twenty-six years.

What is it like to work for the District where you attended school and from which you graduated and what does it mean to you?

I feel like U-46 has always been my second home. My mother taught and retired from U-46. I enjoy being able to give back and provide educational opportunities to the community where I spent a great deal of my life.  I am also proud of the education I received. I was one of the first bilingual students in U-46, back when we were picked up from school and taken to the Masonic Temple for our Spanish classes.

Which U-46 schools did you attend?

Garfield Elementary, Grant - which no longer exists, Ellis (then a “junior high”) and Elgin High School.

What year did you graduate from high school?


Were you a part of an academy or any specialized program?

I was in the bilingual program for two years. There were no academies at the time, but I was in honors classes and participated in a high school class to get my certification as a nurse’s aide.

What was your favorite subject and why?

English and French. I love reading, language, and other cultures.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Mr. Lake, Biology and Honors Biology teacher. I loved the science labs and his passion for teaching and learning. 

Please share a favorite memory from your time as a student in U-46.

Some of my favorite memories include singing Spanish songs and doing artisan work in my bilingual classes. One of my teachers went on to become a principal in U-46, Lois Sands. She is retired now, but I got to work with her as an adult. Ori Guerra became the assistant director of the ELL department in U-46, he has also since retired.

Briefly describe your post-secondary college and/or career experience.

I began at Northern Illinois University and then transferred to Judson College, which is now Judson University. I did my student teaching at Century Oaks Elementary School and began my professional career at Clinton Elementary as a 1st grade bilingual teacher. As a part of my high school classes I also received certification as a nurse's assistant and worked at Mary Margaret Manor, a nursing home in Elgin. I have completed a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and a Masters in Educational Leadership.

What important life or academic lesson did you learn in U-46?

I learned to love reading. But I also learned the value of diversity and what it means to be a lifelong learner.

Do you have children attending U-46 schools? If so, which schools?

My children attended schools including Century Oaks, Clinton, Huff, Sycamore Trails, Creekside, Abbott, Kenyon Woods, Larkin High School and South Elgin High School. They have all graduated, although my daughter has now returned to teach in U-46!