For Immediate Release
September 22, 2009

ISBE Selects10 Finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year

2009-10 Illinois Teacher of the Year to be announced in October

SPRINGFIELDThe Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today the names of 10 finalists for the 2009-10 Illinois Teacher of the Year. The finalists, representing schools across the state, are selected from nominees through ISBE’s 'Those Who Excel' educator recognition program.

"Good teachers lead their students and themselves to excellence," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "These 10 Illinois educators reflect the passion and dedication of teachers across the state who strive to make a difference each day and develop successful learners. The 'Those Who Excel’ program provides the state with an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these teachers and thank them for their tireless devotion and exemplary skills."

Nearly 175 nominations were reviewed this year by a selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers, school board members, representatives from educational service personnel, student support personnel, and former Illinois Teachers of the Year.

Each nomination is individually reviewed and scored three times. Nominations are scored based on personal background information, the nominator’s recommendation, and letters of recommendation. In addition, nominees must answer questions focusing on student success, collaboration, continuous learning, and leadership. Scores are compiled and averaged to determine the level of recognition nominees will receive (Excellence, Merit, or Recognition).

Teachers earning an Award of Excellence become finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year. 

The 2009-2010 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be announced during the Those Who Excel banquet October 24, 2009, at the Pere Marquette Hotel in 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.

The 2008-2009 Illinois Teacher of the Year is Linda Smerge, a second grade teacher from Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Cicero School District 99.

Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalists

Robert Canada teaches fifth-grade at Columbus Elementary School in Edwardsville CUSD 7.

Amy Garcia is an Alternative Education Teacher for grades 9-12 at Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School in Flossmoor in Homewood-Flossmoor CHSD 233.

Connie Harling teaches fourth-graders at Witt Elementary School in Hillsboro CUSD 3.

Anastasia (Ann) Metaxatos is an English/Reading Teacher for students in the 12th grade at James B. Conant High School, Hoffman Estates, in Township High School District 211.

Cathryn Olsen teaches Pre-K at Benjamin Franklin Early Childhood Center in Mt. Vernon.

Ann Rodman is a Family and Consumer Science teacher at Oswego High School in Oswego CUSD 308.

Kevin Rutter teaches Economics to students in grades 10-12 at Carl Schurz High School in Chicago School District 299.

Tim Schnoeker is an Industrial Technology/Vocational Education teacher at Coulterville High School in Coulterville USD 1.

Melissa Sievers is a Special Education teacher at Brussels High School in Brussels CUSD 42.

Martha (Marty) Warren teaches Biology, Honors Anatomy & Physiology, and Honors Forensic Science to students at East St. Louis Senior High School in East St. Louis School District 189.

Nominations for Those Who Excel may be made by administrators, teachers, parents, students, or any person who knows an outstanding educator.  Nomination packets for the 2010 Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year program will be distributed in January.