Courtesy Illinois State Board of Education
SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced nine finalists for the 2012-13 Illinois Teacher of the Year. The finalists represent schools across the state and are selected from nominees through ISBE's Those Who Excel educator recognition program.
"These nine teachers are vibrant leaders who reflect Illinois' commitment to ensuring students learn and succeed," said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. "Education in Illinois is constantly evolving, and these teachers keep abreast of recent reforms and are always working hard to improve their classroom practices. They represent the best of the best across the state, and this program gives us the opportunity to publicly recognize their efforts."
More than 200 nominations were reviewed this year by a selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers and representatives from educational service personnel, student support personnel and past Illinois Teacher of the Year winners.
Each nomination is individually reviewed and scored three times. Nominations are scored based on personal background information, the nominating recommendation and letters of support from colleagues, parents and students. In addition, nominees must respond to questions focusing on student success, collaboration, continuous learning and leadership. Scores are compiled and averaged to determine one of three levels of recognition: Excellence, Merit or Recognition.
Teachers earning an Award of Excellence are finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year. Illinois has named a state Teacher of the Year since the mid 1950's. In 1970, the Illinois State Board of Education became involved in the Teacher of the Year selection, and the first banquet was held in 1974. During the 1980's, ISBE began adding other categories so that educators in a variety of positions could be publicly acknowledged for their efforts. The Early Career Educator became the most recent addition in 2006.
The 2012-13 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be announced during the Those Who Excel banquet Oct. 20 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal. The Teacher of the Year will represent Illinois at NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and in the Council of Chief State School Officers' National Teacher of the Year Program.
Josh Stumpenhorst is the 2011-2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year. Josh teaches Language Arts and Social Sciences at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville Community School District 203.
Here are this year's finalists:
- Christine Adrian teaches social studies to eighth graders at Jefferson Middle School in the Unit 4 Champaign School District in Champaign.
- Julie Breden is a science and accounting teacher at Jersey Community High School in Jersey Community Unit School District 100 in Jerseyville.
- Andrew Conneen teaches political science at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125 in Lincolnshire.
- Brian Curtin is an English teacher at Schaumburg High School in Township High School District 211 in Schaumburg.
- Robert Lang teaches physical science, physics and engineering at Glenbard South High School in Glenbard Township High School District 87 in Glen Ellyn.
- Michael Lawyer teaches history and U.S. government at Hononegah Community High School in District 207 in Rockton.
- Linda Ragsdale is a reading and Title I teacher at Bluffview Elementary School in Dupo District 196 in Dupo.
- Elyse Smith teaches kindergarten at Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Elementary School in Oak Park Elementary School District 97 in Oak Park.
- Pamela Steele is a fifth grade science teacher at Oregon Elementary School in Oregon Community Unit School District 220 in Oregon.
Statement from District 97
Elyse Smith, the kindergarten teacher from Longfellow Elementary School who recently earned an Award of Excellence in conjunction with the "Those Who Excel" educator recognition program, has been named by the Illinois State Board of Education as a finalist for the 2012-2013 Illinois Teacher of the Year. The winner will be announced at the "Those Who Excel" banquet being held on October 20, 2012.
Congratulations, Elyse. We are incredibly proud of you, and appreciate your hard work and tireless efforts on behalf of the families we serve. You are an exemplary ambassador for our schools, our district and the entire Oak Park community.