For Immediate Release
September 17, 2010

ISBE Selects Eight Finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year

2010-2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year to be announced in October

SPRINGFIELD-The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today the names of eight finalists for the 2010-2011 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.

“These eight teachers are representative of many wonderful Illinois educators,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch.  “Their dedication in helping students to become successful learners is unparalleled.  Day after day, they demonstrate their boundless enthusiasm and passion for Illinois’ students.  Through the ‘Those Who Excel’ program, we have the opportunity to publicly recognize their achievements and to thank them for making a difference in the lives of their students.”

A selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers, and representatives from educational service personnel, student support personnel, and former Illinois Teachers of the Year reviewed more than 160 nominations for the award.

Each nomination is individually reviewed and scored three times. Nominations are scored based on personal background information, the nominator’s recommendation, and additional 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 2010-2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be announced during the Those Who Excel banquet October 16 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, ING, and Target.

The 2009-2010 Illinois Teacher of the Year is Kevin Rutter, an Economics teacher from Carl Schurz High School in Chicago Public School District 299.

Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalists

Melissa AngelesMelissa Angeles teaches science at Hononegah Community High School in Hononegah Community High School District 207.

Annice BraveAnnice Brave is an English and journalism teacher at Alton High School in Alton Community Unit School District 11.

Dennis BrownDennis Brown teaches journalism and social studies at Huntley High School in Huntley Consolidated School District 158.

Jennifer JardenJennifer Jarden is a 6th grade Language Arts teacher at Trimpe Middle School in Bethalto Community School District 8.

Leanne JebensLeanne Jebens is a kindergarten teacher at Christa McAuliffe School in Kirby School District 140.

Kimberly RadostitsKimberly Radostits teaches Spanish at Oregon High School in Oregon Community Unit School District 220.

Susan ThomasSusan Thomas teaches social studies at Centennial High School in Champaign Unit 4 School District.

Trish VanderploegTrish Vanderploeg is an 8th grade teacher of English at Plum Grove Junior High School in Community Consolidated School District 15.

Click on a thumbnail image for a large print-quality photo.

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 2011-2012 Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year program will be distributed in January.