2000-2001 Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

September 7, 2000

(217) 782-4648 or (312) 814-3490

Springfield-Ten outstanding Illinois teachers are finalists for the 2000-2001 State Teacher of the Year award, to be presented October 14 by State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee. 

The finalists are selected from the teachers nominated for the State Board’s Those Who Excel education awards.  The winner will be announced at the Those Who Excel awards banquet starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield. 

Finalists for Teacher of the Year 2001 

Irene G. Armbruster, Highland Middle School, Highland.  Teaches algebra/math to students in the eighth grade.  Ms. Armbruster has been a teacher for 20 years.   

Jo Crow, Metamora Grade School, Metamora.  For the past 19 years, Ms. Crow has taught science to students in seventh and eighth grades. 

Michael N. Curran, Rich South High School, Richton Park.  Mr. Curran teaches high school students Language Arts and driver education.  He has been a teacher for 24 years. 

Maria de Lourdes A. Ibarra, Lincoln Elementary School, Blue Island. She is a bilingual teacher of first grade students.  Ms. Ibarra has been teaching for 23 years. 

Dorothy Johnson, Madison Middle School, Madison.  Ms. Johnson has taught fourth grade for 43 years.

Carl F. Koch, Riverside Brookfield High School, Riverside.  Mr. Koch has been a high school science teacher for 30 years. 

Peggy L. Latherow, Carthage High School, Carthage.  Ms. Latherow teaches chemistry and home economics to high school students.  She has been a teacher for 17 years.   

Mary F. Neurohr, Illinois Youth Center, Murphysboro.  Ms. Neurohr teaches Language Arts, Math and GED to high school age students.  She has been a teacher for 21 years. 

Amy Oberts, Bloomington Junior High School, Bloomington.  Ms. Oberts teaches math to sixth grade students.  She has been teaching for 5 years.

Thomas M. Steele, J.D. Darnall High School, Geneseo.  Mr. Steele teaches U.S. History, government, and world problems to high school students.  He has been a teacher for 29 years. 

This year’s Teacher of the Year is Kevin Murphy, a high school physics and astronomy teacher from Lyons Township High School in LaGrange. 

The Teacher of the Year will spend the second semester of the 2000-2001 school year speaking statewide at teacher workshops, educational conferences and civic and community meetings.  The Teacher of the Year will also receive a lifetime tuition waiver to state universities and a one-year paid leave to pursue graduate work.

The winner also represents Illinois at the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama and in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.