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March 13, 2003


The State Board of Education will honor 296 of the state’s outstanding teachers, administrators, support service personnel and community members for their contributions to education at the 29th annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year awards program.

This year’s recipients will be recognized March 22 at a banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield. The banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will culminate with the presentation of the 2003-2004 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

The categories for recognition are classroom teacher; school administrator; student support personnel; education service personnel; and school board member/community volunteer.

For the third year, teams will also be recognized. A team is defined as groups of teachers and administrators; citizens committees; civic organizations; parent organizations; school boards; booster clubs and others that have had a significant impact on teaching and learning in a school or district.

“We are honoring these individuals for their outstanding contributions throughout the state,” said Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller. “They represent the thousands who help students every day to become successful, lifelong learners. Their tireless efforts on behalf of the children of Illinois are helping our students achieve the highest standards.”

Of the 296 awards, 210 will be presented at the banquet. Fifty-nine individuals will receive the highest award level, the Award of Excellence. Sixty-eight honorees will receive the Award of Merit and eighty-three will receive the Award of Recognition. The State Board will also honor 86 people with the Certificate of Appreciation, which will be mailed to the recipients’ schools and presented locally.

The winners’ local schools and communities nominate award recipients. The nomination includes a brief biography of the nominee, his or her philosophy of education, professional development and community involvement and the nominee’s opinions of the state’s most pressing education needs. Letters of recommendation are also required.

A committee of peers chooses the award winners. The committee represents statewide education organizations and includes former award winners. The committee considers the following criteria:

  • How the nominee has demonstrated excellence in his or her duties
  • How the nominee has demonstrated concern for children
  • Positive effects the nominee has had on the school environment
  • Leadership shown by the nominee to inspire others to achieve
  • Achievement of the nominee beyond what would be expected as part of his or her normal duties.

Teacher of the Year finalists comprise all teachers given the Award of Excellence. Finalists sit for a videotaped interview that is reviewed by a group of former Teachers of the Year as part of the selection process. The Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s ambassador for teaching and will represent Illinois in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by Scholastic, Inc. and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Robert Grimm, a physics teacher and Science Department Chair at William Fremd High School, District 211 in Palatine, is the current Teacher of the Year.

The list of Those Who Excel winners by county is located on the following website:

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777