For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ISBE honors more than 150 outstanding individuals for their service to education

34th year agency to honor contributions to education at Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year Program

SPRINGFIELD – More than 150 award recipients will be singled out for their outstanding service to education at the 34th annual Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year banquet. One hundred and sixty-two outstanding teachers, administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel and community members will take center stage Saturday, October 18, when they are honored by the Illinois State Board of Education. The highlight of the awards banquet will include the announcement of Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2008-2009.

“We are honoring these individuals for their outstanding contributions to schools throughout the state,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “They represent the thousands of people who support our schools daily to help all our students become successful lifelong learners.”

Candidates are nominated by their local schools and people in their communities. The nomination includes a brief biography of the nominee, his or her philosophy of education, professional development and community involvement and their opinions of the state’s most pressing educational 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 categories for recognition are:

This year, all levels of awards will be presented at the banquet. There are:

Teacher of the Year finalists comprise all teachers given the Award of Excellence. Finalists sit for a videotaped interview as part of the selection process. The Teacher of the Year serves as the state’s ambassador for teaching and represents Illinois in the National Teacher of the Year programs sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers, and ING.

Ruth Meissen, an art teacher at Harlem Middle School, District 122, in Loves Park, is the current Illinois Teacher of the Year.

This year’s Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year banquet will be held at the Hotel Pere Marquette, 501 Main Street, Peoria.

A list of winners can be found at