Last night, my sister in-law Carol Biskupic Knight received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching at a Department of the Interior Ceremony in Washington D.C.
Flanked by two of her five sisters, she received the huge honor with customary grace and humility, though she’s been a solid candidate since she first set up a classroom in her bedroom at the family home on 11259 South Washtenaw in Chicago.
Carol has been a teacher since birth. Bright, curious and thorough, she educates as naturally as she breathes and her lessons transcend the classroom.
I have checked in with her often during my stints as mother and mentor, and she has always offered spot on analysis and advice.
Carol graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dayton in 1980 and then she and her college roommate literally mapped out their future. They considered all the variables like climate, cost of living and job opportunities, and then road tripped (much to her father’s consternation) out to Portland, Oregon, camping along the way.
Their research paid off and Carol ended up launching her impressive teaching career in Portland, meeting and marrying her husband John and raising their three children there.
Through all of that, and a stint teaching on an army base in Germany and, for a time, in Connecticut, Carol remained a committed and creative teacher with a special affinity for science. She has spent the bulk of her 39 years in education as a classroom teacher and has also worked as an elementary science curriculum specialist and STEAM coordinator.
While she presents a calm and tranquil persona as a teacher, Carol is also a fiercely competitive game player. She wins morning radio trivia contests so frequently she often has to wait for stated time periods to expire before she can participate again and she recently competed well in a qualifying round of Wheel of Fortune (fingers crossed). You really don’t want to sit across a Scrabble board from her without a healthy dose of OXYPHENBUTAZONE (1,778 points) because that would be QUIXOTRY (365 points). She will QUIZZIFY (419 points) and you’ll end up with KATZENJAMMERS (43 points with nine other word possibilities).
I’m not sure what it is with that Biskupic family, maybe all that broccoli that ate as children, but they sure have led some impressive lives.
Congratulations to Carol and to any student lucky enough to have taken a seat in her classroom.