Mrs. Maria Cotter



Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Maria Cotter

Building: West Leyden

Department: Special Education


Phone number/extension: x5051


Educational Background:

I was raised in the south suburbs of Chicago and attended Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School. After High School I attended Eastern Illinois University on an academic scholarship and state tuition waiver. After graduating from EIU in December of 2010, I began my career in education. I am very proud of the education I have received, and I intend to continue my education so that I can better serve my students!

Professional Philosophy:

After graduating from EIU, I began my career in Homewood, IL at Millennium and James Hart Middle School. I taught resource and co-taught classes, all subject areas. I also coached state-winning POMS teams and sponsored the Homework Help Club and participated on several professional committees. I was fortunate enough to expand my career to a middle level position at Jack Hille Middle School in Oak Forest. I was responsible for a co-taught and a self-contained class in all three grade levels, 6th, 7th, and 8th. I had the pleasure of coaching state-qualifying cheer teams, sponsoring Student Council, running Student of the Month, and participating in both building and district-wide professional committees. After having my son, I returned to work at Oak Forest and Bremen High Schools, covering a plethora of academic areas. My last stepping stone to get to Leyden was at Hinsdale Central High School where I co-taught Algebra2/Trigonometry and College Preparatory Math. I was hired at 212 in May of 2019 to begin the 2019-2020 school year.

Personal Life:

As I mentioned, I was born and raised on the southside of Chicago. I lived in Oak Lawn, and attended Kolmar Elementary School, McGugan Jr. High School, and Mother McAuley High School. I received a full tuition waiver scholarship to attend Eastern Illinois University where I studied Special Education, and came home nearly every weekend to work. I spent a lot of time with my big family and had a great deal of time to really focus on my education. I met my husband on a blind date, and the rest is history! We got married in October of 2012. After some time enjoyed just the two of us traveling and exploring, we were blessed with our first child. Our son, James, was born in February of 2015, and our daughter Emmerson, was born in April of 2017. We have two pups named Ewok and Bailey that also keep us busy. When we aren't traveling or enjoying good food, we like to volunteer with a foster-based animal rescue in Joliet named Paws Up 4 Rescue. Fostering puppies and dogs has helped us save many furry lives and has truly enriched our own lives. My faith and my family are key components in making me the person I am!


I am very excited and grateful to be part of this incredible Leyden family. I truly believe that we are all born problem solvers, inquisitive and curious. All humans have an urge to know and discover. If there is a way I can help you grow and learn, please let me know! It's time to begin this awesome adventure into education!