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For Immediate Release
April 16, 2005

State Board of Education names Winnebago County educator as the 2005-2006 Teacher of the Year in Illinois

Honor goes to Jacqueline Bolger, French teacher at
Hononegah Community High School in Rockton, Illinois

Springfield, Ill.—The Illinois State Board of Education has named Jacqueline Bolger the 2005-2006 Illinois Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made at the 31st Annual Those Who Excel event on Saturday, April 16. As Illinois Teacher of the Year, Bolger will serve as the state’s ambassador for teaching and represents Illinois in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.

“Ms. Bolger’s enthusiasm, passion for teaching and commitment to her students are indeed remarkable,” said Interim State Superintendent of Education Randy Dunn. “Her innovative thinking, creative approach and ability to get students excited about learning make her a shining example of the teaching excellence in Illinois.”

For the past 24 years of her 33-year teaching career, Jacqueline Bolger has taught French at Hononegah Community High School. Following her undergraduate studies, she initially pursued a career as an interpreter for the United Nations but, then returned to college to complete her teaching certificate and begin her career in education. Today Bolger says she looks forward to coming to school every day and continues to be amazed at the reciprocal nature of education, saying that she learns as much or more from her students as she teaches them.

In addition to teaching five classes a day, Bolger is the department coordinator for Foreign Languages at Hononegah Community High School and was highly influential in securing the International Communication Center, a 30 station state-of-the-art digitized computer laboratory that enhances student learning on numerous levels. She also serves as sponsor for the French Club and the school’s Key Club organization.

“Jacque has gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve the French program at our school,” said Hononegah Principal Judy Rigby, who nominated Bolger. “When Jacque decides to retire someday, it will take more than one person to fill her shoes.”

Bolger holds a bachelor of arts degree in French from Rosary College and a master of arts for teachers in English from Rockford College.

Bolger was selected from a field of seven finalists, each of whom received the Award of Excellence. All award recipients were nominated by their local schools or community members. A committee of former award winners and representatives from statewide education organizations reviewed the field of nominees and selected the finalists for Teacher of the Year. ISBE staff conducted videotaped interviews of each finalist as part of the selection process, with the State Superintendent of Education making the final selection of Teacher of the Year.

As Illinois Teacher of the Year, Bolger will spend the 2005 fall semester speaking at teacher workshops, educational conferences and civic and community meetings. She will receive a lifetime tuition waiver to state universities and a one-semester paid leave to pursue graduate work or develop an educational project that will benefit students statewide. In addition, Bolger will represent 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.

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