For Immediate Release
January 12, 2011

Illinois teacher named as finalist for National Teacher of the Year

Annice Brave - 2010-11 Illinois Teacher of the Year

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education announced today that Annice Brave, the 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year, has been named one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. This is the 61st year that the Council of Chief State School Officers has sponsored the National Teacher of the Year program. The winner will be announced in the spring.

“Annice’s commitment to education and teaching is exemplified in her dedication to students, her pursuit of new strategies that will improve learning, and her enthusiasm for teaching,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “She is a tireless advocate for students and the profession of teaching.”

It has been more than 40 years since an Illinois teacher was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. The late David E. Graf, a vocational education and industrial arts teacher from Sandwich Community High School was honored in 1968; and, in 1954, Willard C. Widerberg, a seventh-grade teacher at DeKalb Junior High School, was selected.

An English and journalism teacher at Alton High School, Brave was chosen 2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year last October from a field of eight finalists. She has been teaching for 23 years and was the first teacher in Alton Community Unit School District 11 to earn National Board Certification. She also serves as chair of the English department.

“I am honored and humbled to be named among these four finalists for this prestigious award,” Brave said. “Being named Teacher of the Year in Illinois has already provided an extraordinary opportunity to share the stories of educators and students. My colleagues across the state and here at Alton High School remind me daily of the importance and privilege of being called a teacher.”

Brave was instrumental in working with Lewis and Clark Community College to develop a student radio program that gives students the rare opportunity to get on-air experience at the college station. In addition, she serves as an adviser to the students on the school newspaper, Redbird Word. She has mentored numerous colleagues as they pursued National Board Certification and is a former union president who worked diligently to protect the rights of teachers while keeping student learning a priority.

Brave earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication and a Master of Science in education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Her National Board Certification is in Adolescent and Young Adult/English Language Arts.

The National Teacher of the Year program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and is sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target. The other finalists are state Teachers of the Year from Florida, Maryland and Montana.

A panel of educators, representing the 14 largest national education organizations, chose the finalists from the 2011 Teachers of the Year representing the United States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity and four U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. The panel will also select the 2011 National Teacher of the Year. President Barack Obama will recognize the national honoree and all the state winners during an event tentatively scheduled for the week of May 2.

The organizations represented on the 2011 National Selection Committee are: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Association for Childhood Education International, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Association of Teacher Educators, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, National Education Association, National Middle Schools Association and the National School Public Relations Association.