The prestigious prize comes with a $1 million prize for the winner, and although Fatheree did not ultimately win (the prize went to a Palestinian teacher from Bethlehem on March 13), he put Illinois schools and his local district on the map for educators around the world.
During his 25 years of teaching, Fatheree had noticed that the textbook teaching methods he was taught were not as effective as hoped. Instead, he used out-of-the-box approaches to keep students engaged and saw a drastic improvement in achievement.
Fatheree, who teaches media production and innovation, guides his students to produce music, books, and films on emotional and touching topics such as homelessness, bullying, and human rights. His students have used 3-d printing, drones, and even some computer-based games they have designed for young children.
A video detailing Fatheree’s teaching accomplishments is available here.