For Immediate Release
October 17, 2010

Alton High School teacher named 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year

Annice BravePEORIA—Alton High School English and Journalism Teacher Annice Brave has been named the Illinois Teacher of theYear. Brave was chosen from eight finalists and was among more than 150 educators from across Illinois who were honored as part of thestate’s recognition program for teachers, administrators and school personnel. The Alton teacher received the honor Saturday atthe 36th annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year banquet in Peoria.

“Annice’s passion for teaching is evident, from her work to develop hands-on learning experiences to the extra hours she puts in with students,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Annice has been a leader in her school’s pursuit of strategies to more effectively engage students in their own learning. She pursues every available avenue to find ways that will improve teaching and learning and is an excellent representative of Illinois’ teachers.”

A teacher of 23 years, Brave also serves as chair of the English Department. She decided to become a teacher after the birth of her two daughters.

In 2001, Brave became the first teacher in Alton Community Unit School District 11 to earn National Board Certification. Since then, she has mentored numerous teachers as they earn their certification.

Parents and students say Brave truly makes a difference in students’ lives. She was instrumental in developing a student radio program in partnership with Lewis and Clark Community College. The program gives students the opportunity to get on-air experience through the college radio station. She arrives at school an hour early several days a week to work with students on radio production and each summer she attends Radio Camp with her students.

Brave has also been highly involved in developing a media class that combines writing with technology. She spends her lunch hour in her classroom so that students may work on the school newspaper, Redbird Word, during their study halls. She is also the faculty sponsor of the student literacy magazine, Calliope.

In her nomination letter, Principal Barbara A. Gillian, wrote that Brave’s “devotion to all students is obvious in the countless hours she spends working with small groups and individuals long after the school day ends.”

An innovative and creative teacher, Brave asked her students to rewrite, in their own words, the Illinois Learning Standards for English. She then posted them around her classroom and she noticed students were relating lessons to their “newly created” standards. Several other teachers also implemented the idea with success.

Students and colleagues refer to Brave’s dedication to teaching as inspiring. Her belief in students is evident in their improved learning and increased confidence. She is a former union president who worked diligently to protect the rights of teachers while keeping student learning a priority.

Brave holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and a Master of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. She is Nationally Board Certified in Adolescent and Young Adult/English Language Arts.

Nearly 180 nominations for Those Who Excel were reviewed and scored three times by a selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers, and school board members.

The eight finalists for Teacher of the Year were interviewed and videotaped and those interviews were scored again before making the final recommendation. Principals, faculty, parents and students submit letters on behalf of candidates as part of the nomination process.

As Illinois Teacher of the Year, Annice Brave will have opportunities to share her knowledge and expertise outside the classroom. Beginning in the 2011 spring semester, Brave will be available to speak at teaching workshops, educational conferences, and civic/community meetings. She will receive a lifetime tuition waiver to state universities and will represent Illinois at the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, and in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by Council of Chief State School Officers, ING, and Target. Brave will also receive products from SMARTer Kids.