Three Outstanding LFC Employees Receive the Palmes Académique
In early October, Cyn Koukos, Secondary English teacher, Pascal Léon, Primary Director, and Béatrice Mazoyer, Primary teacher, each received the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes académiques, a prestigious distinction from the French Ministry of Education as recognition and thanks for their many years of service, their passion for teaching and their impact on the lives of our students...in other words, their significant contributions to French education. The Consul General of France in Chicago, Yannick Tagand, officiated the ceremony and stated that we are fortunate to have such extraordinary educators teaching our future ambassadors to be excellent partners for the future.
Tell us more about yourself/yourselves:
Cyn Koukos : I was born and raised in a suburb of Cook County. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved school and one of my ambitions was to become a teacher or a nurse or a vet. Teaching won out.
I have a Bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University and three Master's degrees. Aside from teaching in Illinois, I taught at Clovis Unified School District in Clovis, California and was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher to Trysil, Norway in 1993-94 of which I am quite proud. The years at the Lycee have flown by, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to work at this school from its beginning to present day.
Pascal Léon : I arrived at LFC in 2016 after having passed through Calvados, where I completed my bachelor’s, Algeria for my military service, Los Angeles for 10 years and Seine-Saint-Denis for 15 years. I am a movie buff of all kinds, a basketball, volleyball and tennis player until my knees said "that's enough.” I am a great lover of travel, sudoku and logic games.
Béatrice Mazoyer : I like reading, traveling, gardening, singing, spending time with family and friends, cooking and enjoying good food. I have always enjoyed learning foreign languages. I speak English, German and Spanish in addition to my native language, French. Outside of France and the US, I have lived in Germany and Scotland. I love children's literature and enjoy sharing my favorite books with my children, students and colleagues. I love teaching in the US because it has allowed me to expand my educational horizons, thus influencing my classroom practice. I love cats and have three at home.
Why is the Lycée the right fit for your family?
Cyn Koukos : From the promise I gave to the very first president of the Lycee, I have attempted to provide the secondary students, especially at the middle school level, with quality education which is sound in providing exposure to the demands of a college prep curriculum that is found in top school districts throughout the state of Illinois and nothing less than that.
Pascal Léon : LFC gives me what every educator dreams of: first of all, to work with a team of motivated, caring teachers, who create stimulating projects for their students. Second, to benefit from the permanent support of an administration always dedicated to improving the already excellent working conditions for students and adults alike. Finally, to see this work recognized and appreciated, both by those who did it and by the LFC Community.
Béatrice Mazoyer : The LFC was the right school for us because we are a French-American family. My husband, an American, speaks French fluently. We were able to communicate easily with our respective families. It was important to us that our children be bilingual as well. The LFC has provided our children with the necessary academic background to master both languages in speaking and writing. It was a reflection of our family life. We are delighted to see our son put his language skills to good use at his company by traveling to Paris on business. As for our daughter, a student at UCSB, she works in the university’s French department.
Tell us something about you that will surprise many of our readers:
Cyn Koukos : I don't speak Greek because my parents who were first generation Greek Americans wanted me to fit into the American culture and not be made fun of for having an accent or for being different. They did not want my brother or myself to undergo the ridicule that they endured when they were growing up with immigrant parents and older brothers and sisters. So, it is nice to see the students of the Lycee feel comfortable switching from one language to another without someone criticizing them. And it upsets me when some colleagues say there is too much English spoken in the hallways. The students need to feel free to speak any of our languages within the halls of our school, but within the classroom, they need to speak the language of the instructor only.
Pascal Léon : I celebrated Christmas at the Élysée Palace.
Béatrice Mazoyer : I grew up in the Alps, in Annecy and then near Chamonix in Haute-Savoie. Like any child living in this beautiful region, I practiced skiing a lot. I became a ski instructor for young children. Unfortunately, I can no longer practice this sport today... I can’t handle falls like I used to…