For Immediate Release
December 18, 2013

State Board Recognizes Exemplary Educators

Board Presents the Illinois Teacher of the Year and the Milken National Educator with Resolutions

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education honored the 2014 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Pam Reilly, and the 2013 Illinois Milken National Educator, Melissa Leisner, with resolutions and accolades at their regular monthly meeting today (Wednesday)  in Springfield.

“The Board and I are very pleased to have this opportunity to meet and recognize these outstanding teachers,” said State Board Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Pam and Melissa are excellent examples of the great teachers across Illinois who are committed to helping students succeed. We are glad to get the chance to thank them personally for their tremendous dedication and achievements.”

Pam Reilly is a second-grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School in Sandwich CUSD 430. She was named the 2014 Illinois Teacher of the Year in October.  Now in her 12th year of teaching, Ms. Reilly is recognized as a collaborator and a leader by her colleagues in the Sandwich district, home of six schools serving more than 2,300 students.

Colleagues and parents said Ms. Reilly’s enthusiasm, advocacy and dedication inspire them to go the extra distance in providing students with the tools they need to be successful learners. Students concurred that Ms. Reilly keeps them focused and motivated to learn.

The 2013 Illinois Milken National Educator, Melissa Leisner, is a seventh-grade English and language arts teacher at Prairie Knolls Middle School in Central Community Unit District 301, Elgin. Ms. Leisner was told of her selection as a Milken National Educator during a school assembly in November.

Currently in her 15th year of teaching, Ms. Leisner is described as an outstanding role model for her students and colleagues. Leisner never gives up and never stops working on improving her teaching to help students improve their learning. She builds relationships with students and encourages them to provide feedback so that she can better support them.

Nomination packets for the 2014 Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year Program will be available in January. More than 180 nominations were reviewed and scored for the 2013 program.


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