Making My D97 Better Award: Silvia Zaragoza

Making My D97 Better Award: Silvia Zaragoza

District 97’s "Making MyD97 Better" Award recognizes staff, students, parents and community members who are making our schools a better place for all. The district will choose a winner each month, and share their stories through our newsletters, website and social media pages.

We are thrilled to announce our "Making MyD97 Better" winner for February 2022: Silvia Zaragoza, Spanish teacher at Irving Elementary School.

Silvia is a passionate educator who has been engaging, inspiring and supporting students and colleagues at Irving and across the district for the past 15 years. “Ms. Zaragoza truly represents the best of Irving School and District 97,” Irving principal John Hodge said. “She keeps what’s best for students at the center of everything she does, and she helps us all keep in mind two things that are important: celebrating our diversity and providing inclusive opportunities for students.”

Whittier Spanish teacher Lidys Aguirre, who nominated Silvia, said her exceptional character and willingness to help others without hesitation sets Silvia apart. This generosity comes in many forms, Irving art teacher Emily Tague said, “Whether she’s finding new ways to engage students, helping staff members with technology, working on our master schedule, or planning school-wide activities for Hispanic Heritage month, Silvia really is making D97 better on a daily basis.”

Silvia’s journey to Oak Park began almost 25 years ago, when her family moved to the United States from Mexico. “Being an immigrant from Mexico and being here, learning English and going to college– it was a big accomplishment,” Silvia said. “So this [award] also shows that my effort and work is recognized by my colleagues and everybody here. I appreciate that, and I’m just happy to share my culture and the language and everything that I bring with me to all the students in Oak Park.”

Check out the video we made for Silvia Zaragoza by clicking the box below or by visiting

Do you know someone—a teacher, staff member, parent, student or community member—who is helping to make D97 a better place for all? Share their story and nominate them for a "Making MyD97 Better" Award!