My Mentor

It’s hard to wear several hats, but Angie Koontz does it as well as anyone can. She is a mother, wife, CTE advocate, UDL expert, and she also has a day job she does very well, a school counselor. While excelling in all of these roles, there is one constant that drives her, an wavering commitment to her students and pushing them to be the best they can be. Her passion to push students is infectious and I’m excited to learn and be pushed as well. Before starting her 16-year career in school counseling, Angie’s journey started as a child adolescent analyst in Dupage County. This job allowed Angie to develop the strengths that have propelled her career, working with difficult situations and advocating for a student’s needs. After taking time to stay at home with her family, Angie started to work part-time as a therapist and earned her master’s degree in counseling. These experiences led her to take a school counselor position at Somonauk High School.

Angie is an advocate for her students and there are two things she knows support her students, UDL and CTE. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching and learning that gives all students equal opportunity to succeed. While I was familiar with UDL before our conversation, Angie taught me the impact it can have on education. As Angie put it, UDL is a way to make sure all students’ needs are met and that making accommodations for some students benefits all. Angie’s passion for CTE was instilled in her at a young age through her family, but her advocacy was cemented by seeing first-hand the impact high-quality CTE can have on students. Angie made a strong point that I know I will carry with me moving forward. School districts are the most successful when they pushed for academic engagement through CTE. Also, when schools embrace that all education is important, students are more engaged which improves the morale and culture of a school.

Angie taught me that growth and improvement take effort and courage to get out of your comfort zone. The Fellowship moved Angie out of her comfort zone and the growth she experienced has had a positive impact on her students and her school. I was excited to join the Fellowship before connecting with my Mentor, but after meeting Angie I have a clearer vision of what the Fellowship can do for me and CTE in my region.


Kaleb Smith

Region III Experienced Fellow