"Helping people see the importance of diversity and equity in education has been a mission for me," says Valeria Evans-Pierce, a third-grade teacher at Northmoor Primary School in Peoria. In an effort to make instructional approaches more effective for the benefit of all students, Ms. Evans-Pierce has worked closely with teachers, staff and administrators district-wide to implement educational strategies based on efficacy training. As the first teacher to lead a Literature Circle at her school, she helped introduce her colleagues to a literacy program that has since met with great success. "Today," she says, "we model the program for schools throughout our district." Working together with a district team, Ms. Evans-Pierce is currently involved in curriculum reform and staff development programs that address the issue of equity in mathematics. In 1996, Ms. Evans-Pierce was named Illinois Teacher of the Year by the Illinois State Board of Education.