Jared D’Onofrio, Upper School English teacher, was named an Outstanding Educator by the University of Chicago, after being nominated by a former student for the award.


The Outstanding Educator award is presented to teachers who taught current University of Chicago freshman and who made a profound impact on those students’ lives. Hundreds of first-year students submit nominations for teachers who influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth.


Alumna Aviva Waldman ’18 nominated Jared for the award, who was surprised to learn he had been nominated at all. Though taken aback, Jared said he was honored to be nominated, especially by a student he has held in such high regard.


“[Avi is] the sort of student whose innate, insatiable intellectual curiosity makes everyone around her better, [and she is] also an overwhelmingly generous and kind person,” he said.


Aviva appears to hold Jared in the same regard, writing in her nomination letter: “Your classes have prepared me for college more than any other. Between slot canyons, zoo trips, beach walks, and some of the most memorable outdoor theater outings I’ve ever experienced, I’ve learned most of what I know about reading, writing, and trying to be a good person.”


The University of Chicago has presented this award to deserving educators for over three decades. In a letter to Head of Upper School Monica Gillespie announcing Jared’s nomination, the university’s dean of admissions and financial aid wrote:


“As an institution that prides itself on being committed to the Life of the Mind, we at the University of Chicago are heartened to see that your school fosters and supports such outstanding individuals.”