Physics Teacher Named Outstanding Educator of the Year

March 7, 2024

Preston Kendall, President, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep is a co-sponsored ministry of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

Kumkum Bonnerjee

This past October, Cristo Rey St. Martin physics teacher Kumkum Bonnerjee received a surprising package from a colleague, Chris Call. Initially thinking it was more paperwork, Kumkum was less than thrilled to have it on her desk. Instead, inside the package was an award from the University of Chicago. The enclosed certificate declared her the recipient of the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, with a touching quote from former student Cristian Garcia expressing gratitude for Kumkum’s impact.

Known for her supportive yet challenging teaching style, Kumkum humbly credited her community for the achievement, acknowledging her colleagues’ collaborative effort and her students’ exceptional dedication. “I did not win this award alone, it was a community cultivated effort.”

Expressing immense pride in being part of CRSM, she thanked the math department for their collaboration and praised her students’ resilience in tackling demanding coursework. With 17 years at CRSM, Kumkum emphasized the school’s extraordinary support system among faculty and administration. This accolade spurred her to reflect on her teaching journey, acknowledging students’ profound impact on her passion for education. She described teaching as her favorite job, contrasting it with her previous corporate career. “The students are the best portion of my job. They constantly rise above my expectations and perform their very best in difficult subjects like physics,” says Kumkum.

Congratulations poured in for Kumkum Bonnerjee, highlighting her undeniable worthiness for this prestigious accolade. This award is a wonderful testament to how educators have lasting impacts on students and that students benefit greatly from a supportive environment.

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