Doctora Nominated for Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award


Kylie Callaway, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Principal Patrick Brown recently received word that Dr. Diane Mulroney, NDA Spanish teacher, has been nominated for the 2022 Northwestern University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award. 

This award is sponsored by the Office of the President. Northwestern University will recognize five outstanding high school teachers at its 2022 Commencement. Each recipient will receive an award of $5,000. Their high school will also receive an award of $5,000.

Former student Kate Stumpf, now a senior at Northwestern, nominated Mulroney for DSTA (Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award). 

Doctora, as she is known to her students, acknowledged the award came out of the blue. It stated that Stumpf nominated her as a teacher who had a “transforming impact.” 

Principal Browne echoed the words of Stumpf, saying the Spanish teacher is “consistently recognized by her seniors in end-of-the-year school surveys as a teacher who has made a difference in their lives.  She is respected by her co-workers and revered by her students.”

A native of Waukegan, Illinois,  Doctora earned a B.A. in Spanish from Northwestern University. In addition, she received an M.A and Ph. D. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After a career as an assistant professor, lecturer and adjunct professor, she made the decision to teach in secondary school and joined the NDA staff in 2005. 

“I didn’t choose to become a teacher; teaching chose me. I followed my love of Spanish, which led me to grad school, which led me to teach. I was terrified the first month of teaching as a grad student; it was terrible. I trudged up Bascom Hill every day with a knot in my stomach. It got better, though!” she said..

She chose a Spanish major because she loved the language. It was a subject that came naturally to her and intrigued her. She constantly discovers new aspects of Spanish and other elements of the culture. 

“I studied my junior year in Seville, Spain. Spain is my ‘happy place.’  I’ve also traveled to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. When we worked at Aquinas College in Michigan, my husband and I took students abroad to Spain for a semester and to Mexico twice for service-learning projects. The trip to Costa Rica was a study-abroad trip with NDA students, led by Sra. VW,” said Mulroney. 

“Teaching is a calling where you rarely know how you have impacted students, and that’s okay.  We are used to that. It’s part of the job,” she said.