Deanna Otten awarded the James A. Gates District 97 Teacher Scholarship

James A. Gates Oak Park District 97 Scholarship Recipeient, Deanna Otten. Photo Courtesy of Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation.

This year, the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation is proud to announce that the James A. Gates Oak Park District 97 Teacher Scholarship is awarded to Deanna Otten. Deanna, who teaches English as a Second Language in District 97 at Irving, Longfellow, and Beye schools along with Julian Middle School, is National Board Certified for English as a New Language.

According to the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, this scholarship is awarded annually to a teacher who “aspires to positively affect the futures of their students, embodies a worthy role model for their colleagues, and enhances the quality and the reputation of Oak Park Elementary School District 97.” Only certified teachers in their first or second year of teaching in Oak Park School District 97 are eligible for this scholarship.

Deanna is an alumnus of Northern Illinois University’s class of 1999 and began teaching art to elementary school students. As she continued her career in education, she found herself working with many Spanish-speaking students. The need to expand her knowledge regarding education motivated her to pursue teaching endorsements in English as a Second Language and Reading and Gifted Teaching. Deanna went on to earn her masters degree in curriculum and instruction in 2006, which has helped her develop new methods and perspectives for teaching children.

Over the course of her career, Deanna has balanced full-time teaching and taking on a range of other jobs in order to address the cost of continuing her education. This scholarship is well deserved by Deanna as she continues to develop her credentials, methods, and her overall commitment to her students.

For information about the James A. Gates District 97 Scholarship, please contact Rhea Yap at the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation at (708) 848-1560 or email Visit the Foundation’s website at for more scholarship and grant opportunities.



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