For Immediate Release
May 4, 2008

Illinois recognizes teachers and says ‘thank you’ during Teacher Appreciation Week – May 4 – 10

National Teacher Day, Tuesday; highlights important work that teachers do everyday on behalf of students across the state

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is joining with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) in urging students, parents, administrators and communities to honor the state’s more than 130,000 full-time and part-time public school teachers in our classrooms during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4 – 10 and on National Teacher Day, Tuesday, May 6.

“This is an important week in Illinois, as we recognize the dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment that teachers show everyday on behalf of their students,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “I am proud of Illinois teachers for the positive impact they have on our student’s lives. Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions and I would hope more people consider taking up the challenge.”

Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first full week of May and National Teacher Day is celebrated every year on the Tuesday of the first full week of May. These celebrations provide an opportunity to both express appreciation and publicly recognize the important work that teachers do everyday.

“To have great schools you need great teachers and Illinois public school teachers are among the most committed to excellence to be found anywhere,” said IEA President Ken Swanson. “IEA is pleased to see the hard work of our teacher members appreciated and celebrated.”

“Teachers across Illinois routinely go above and beyond the call of duty to help our children learn and their extraordinary efforts are often unsung,” said IFT President Ed Geppert, Jr. “This week we recognize the commitment and caring of teachers and school employees, those front-line professionals who truly make a difference in children’s lives.”

In December, Illinois was recognized as a leader for having the fourth highest number of teachers achieving National Board Certification in 2007. This is the second year in a row that Illinois has been ranked fourth nationally for the number of new teachers attaining the profession’s highest credential. Additionally:

Classroom teachers, school administrators and other school personnel across Illinois will be honored this fall during the 35th Annual State Board of Education Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year Program. This year's program has six nomination categories – classroom teachers; school administrator/principal; student support personnel (certificated); educational service personnel (non-certificated); school board member/community volunteer; and team.

School districts have until Friday, May 16, to submit a nomination in each of the six categories. The nomination packet is available online at

The 2008-2009 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be named at the annual Those Who Excel banquet on Saturday, October 18, at the Hotel Père Marquette in downtown Peoria. The Teacher of the Year represents Illinois at 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 ING. This year’s Teacher of the Year is Ruth Meissen, an art teacher at Harlem Middle School in Loves Park.