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News

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2004

Nearly 300 school staffers will be recognized as part of the 30th annual Those Who Excel Program

(Springfield) - Nearly 300 of the state's outstanding teachers, administrators, support service personnel and community members will take center stage Saturday evening when they are honored by the Illinois State Board of Education during the 30th annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year awards program.

The banquet will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield.

"We are honoring these individuals for their outstanding contributions to schools throughout the state," said State Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller. "They represent the thousands of people who support our schools daily to help our students become successful learners."

The categories for recognition are:

  • Classroom teacher
  • School administrator
  • Student support personnel
  • Educational service personnel
  • School board member and/ or community volunteer
  • Teams, which recognizes groups of teachers and administrators; citizen committees; civic organizations; parent organizations; school boards; booster clubs and others that have a significant impact on teaching and learning in a school or district.

Of the 294 awards, 235 will be presented at the banquet:

  • 54 will receive the highest award level, Excellence.
  • 87 will receive the Award of Merit.
  • 94 will receive the Award of Recognition.

The State Board will also honor 59 people with the Certificate of Appreciation, which will be mailed to the recipients' schools and presented locally.

Recipients are nominated by their local schools and people in their communities. The nomination includes a brief biography of the nominee, his or her philosophy of education, professional development and community involvement and their opinions of the state's most pressing educational needs. Letters of recommendation are also required.

A committee of peers chooses the award winners. The committee represents statewide education organizations and includes former award winners. The committee considers the following criteria:

  • How the nominee has demonstrated excellence in his or her duties.
  • How the nominee has demonstrated concern for children.
  • Positive effects the nominee has had on the school environment.
  • Leadership shown by the nominee to inspire others to achieve.
  • Achievement by the nominee beyond what would be expected as part of his or her normal duties.

Teacher of the Year finalists comprise all teachers given the Award of Excellence. Finalists sit for videotaped interview as part of the selection process. The Teacher of the Year serves as the state's ambassador for teaching and represents Illinois in the National Teacher of the Year programs sponsored by Scholastic, Inc., and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

David Morrison, a music and band teacher at Prospect High School, District 214, in Mt. Prospect is the 2003 Teacher of the Year.

This year's Those Who Excel winners, listed by county, are available on the ISBE website at http://www.isbe.net/news/2004/excel_winners.pdf.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777