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O’Donnell honors Kane’s top educator on his home turf

Ed Brouch Kane County Educator Year. | Phocourtesy~ClaytMuhammad-School District 131

Ed Brouch, Kane County Educator of the Year. | Photo courtesy~Clayton Muhammad-School District 131

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Updated: June 16, 2012 8:09AM

AURORA — The world has changed in the 14 years since Ed Brouch has been principal. It’s the kids that haven’t changed much.

“Kids still need a hug and their shoes tied,” Brouch said.

On Monday morning, the O’Donnell Elementary School principal was honored for giving hugs, tying shoes and much more. Brouch was named Kane County Educator of the Year Friday night in St. Charles. On Monday, the 25-year educator got a second special ceremony in the school’s gym, complete with all 530 O’Donnell students still carrying their backpacks.

Former Principal Al Neitzel said hiring Brouch was “probably the luckiest day of my life.” Library media teacher Josie Gehler said she couldn’t ask for a better boss.

“Ed lets us know that he believes in what we do and will support us any way he can,” she said.

But the student nominations for the award, scrawled on giant lined paper, left a lasting impression, said Pamela Rhoads, one of the teachers who nominated Brouch.

“Mr. Brouch is spectacular! He does good things,” Mykael wrote.

And Damian said: “Mr. Brouch is awesome because he’s the best teacher in the school.”

At East Aurora, Brouch has been a teacher, district science coordinator, assistant principal and principal.

Raised in East Aurora, he graduated from East Aurora High School in 1974, earned a bachelor’s degree from Aurora University in 1989 and a master’s from AU in 1995. Today Brouch lives in Aurora with his wife and three children.

“He lives his life in faith,” Rhoads said. “When he makes a decision, it’s always what is best for the kids.”

Brouch has been involved in the Boy Scouts for more than 30 years. He served as a missionary in Mexico for three years, was a youth pastor at Gateway Christian Center and participated in outreach ministry for St. Charles Youth Home. He serves in the worship band and as an elder at Advent Christian Church.

Brouch said Monday it’s the East Aurora kids who make his job worthwhile.

“I love working in East Aurora,” Brouch said. “We’re a true family. We fight fair ... we love one another deeply, and they inspire me every day.”

He said he feels really lucky to be placed at O’Donnell Elementary, where all of the teachers are there to help people.

“We have the best job in the world,” Brouch said. “If you put the kids first, if you do that, you won’t lose.”

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