Shannon McGovern

Spanish teacher and JV girls’ volleyball coach Michael Aldworth will be leaving Prospect at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Throughout his 11-year career, Aldworth has taught both Spanish 2 and AP Spanish while coaching girls’ volleyball at the same time. 


Aldworth is heading to Leyden District 212 in Franklin Park to assume the position of the Modern Languages Department Chair. Here, he plans to continue teaching Spanish classes but no longer coach volleyball. 


After building so many relationships with both students and staff at Prospect, it is going to be hard for Aldworth to leave, but he knows that taking this new position will be a major stepping stone for his career.


“There are so many good people at that building; that’s … going to make it a challenge to leave,” Aldworth said. 


After being hired to teach at Prospect in 2009, Aldworth worked hard to establish the Spanish exchange program that began in 2012. This was a difficult task, as the original plan he had with a public school in Madrid fell through due to the recent recession. This led to our current Spanish exchange program with Pare Manyanet Les Corts, a private school in Barcelona. 


The quick success that Aldworth had on establishing a Spanish exchange program for Prospect was not a surprise to Spanish teacher Leigh Sapp.


Sapp was on the interview committee when Aldworth was applying for a teaching position at Prospect. She remembers admiring his agreeable personality and passion for the Spanish language and immediately thought that he was the right person for the job. 


“He was a warm, great person,” Sapp said. “The great thing about Aldworth is that he is fearless; you need to have that ability to not worry so much and just have a little bit of blind faith that things will work out, and that that’s what Aldworth has.”


Aldworth’s essence is what Sapp believes got her out of her comfort zone as a teacher. She jokingly calls him her “work spouse” because he is able to keep her grounded and shake off her instinct of worrying about the little things. A common phrase that Aldworth would say to Sapp will forever stick with her: “Cálmate mujer!”


Aside from his ability to keep the faith that all will work out, Aldworth’s dedication to his teaching will not go unnoticed. 


“He’s all about sharing stories and giving students great experiences with the language, and that’s what makes a great teacher,” Sapp said.


It’s those experiences that make Aldworth come to work every day with such a passionate attitude. He wants to be all in it for his students because the biggest gift in the end is being able to share in those moments with them.


“I think Prospect students really understand that we, as teachers, are there to help,” Aldworth said. “We share in your joy; we want good things for you, and we’re proud of you.”


So, as he wraps up his career of teaching at Prospect, all of those who have shared these memorable moments with him will miss him, but know that Leyden is very lucky to have such a strong educator. 


“He’s going to be really hard to replace,” Sapp said. “Hopefully we’re going to hire someone just as passionate with the same ability in getting through to kids as him. We’ve got big shoes to fill; that’s for sure.”