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All in 220: Kristen Devine

Kristen Devine’s passion for special education started at a young age. “My older sister has Down Syndrome and so my world has always included people with special needs,” Mrs. Devine said. “I was often inspired by my sister’s teachers who helped her grow not only academically, but socially as well.” 

After earning her degree in special education from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), she became a special education teacher at a school in Itasca. She taught there for five years, before staying home to raise her own children. When her youngest entered school she returned to the classroom, working in a couple of different positions before joining the staff at North Barrington Elementary School in 2017. 

“Mrs. Devine is a top-notch special educator who goes above and beyond to advocate for the students at North Barrington Elementary,” said Dr. Lisa West, Principal. “She is loved by her students, her families, and our staff. Her experience, dedication, and passion for education are to be admired. I consider it an honor to be Mrs. Devine’s principal.”

Mrs. Devine, who also holds a master’s degree in early childhood from Concordia University,  says her favorite part about teaching is listening to the stories her students share with her each day. “They are so engaging, funny, and loving. I always enjoy their spark and excitement,” she said. “My students often learn at a different pace than their peers, so when I see even the smallest amount of progress, we all get excited and celebrate as a class. I love those moments! 

When she reflects on her journey in education and her connection to her students, she says she has not only been inspired by her older sister but also by her parents. “I think because they had a child with special needs, they knew how hard the struggle can be. They were always so grateful to the people who helped them with my sister along the way,” Mrs. Devine said. “They paid it forward throughout their life and taught me to do the same.”