For Immediate Release
October 8, 2009

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

35th year agency to honor contributions to education at Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year Program

SPRINGFIELD – More than 150 award recipients will be recognized for their outstanding service to education at the 35th 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 the stage Saturday, October 24, when they are honored by the Illinois State Board of Education. The highlight of the award banquet will be the announcement of the Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2009-10.

"Good teachers change lives and inspire greatness," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "We honor these individuals for their outstanding commitment and contributions to schools across the state. They represent thousands more who support our schools daily and give tirelessly to help 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.

Linda Smerge, a second grade teacher from Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Cicero School District 99, 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.

Click here to view a list of all state winners.