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For immediate release
March 8, 2004

Finalists for State Teacher of Year Announced

(Springfield, Ill.) – Twelve exemplary educators representing urban and rural districts across the state have been selected as finalists in the 30th Annual Illinois Teacher of the Year program. State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller released the finalists names Friday from among nearly 300 educators nominated through the “Those Who Excel” educator awards program.

“Providing outstanding education requires outstanding teachers,” Schiller said. “Illinois is fortunate to have so many exemplary educators. Our Those Who Excel program provides us with the opportunity to honor their outstanding contributions to the education of Illinois’ children.”

Nearly 300 nominations were reviewed this year by a selection committee comprised of 62 volunteer administrators, teachers, school board members, representatives from educational service personnel, student support personnel, parent/teacher organizations and former Teachers of the Year.

Each nomination is individually reviewed and scored three times. Nominations are scored on:

  • educational activities that improve student performance,
  • excellence in the performance of duties including colleague collaboration,
  • evidence of a positive effect on the school environment,
  • leadership and/or
  • evidence of going above and beyond normal duties.

The scores are then compiled and averaged to determine the level of recognition. Nominees may be eligible to receive awards of Excellence, Merit, Recognition, or a Certificate of Appreciation.

Teachers scoring at the Award of Excellence level become finalists for the Illinois Teacher of the Year. Following scoring and notifications, each finalist is interviewed on videotape about educational issues and personal philosophy. The interviews are reviewed by a group of former Illinois Teachers of the Year who narrow the field to the top two or three teachers. The top candidates’ nominations and tapes are submitted to the State Superintendent who makes the final decision.

Illinois’ 2005 Teacher of the Year will be announced during the Those Who Excel awards banquet April 17, 2004, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. The winner 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 and Scholastic, Inc.

The 2004 Illinois Teacher of the Year is David Morrison who teaches music at Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect (Township High School District 214).

Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalists

Lana Jean Baker from Plano High School in Plano, teaches English, theatre, and speech for grades 9-12.

Shaun Carey teaches seventh and eighth grade science at Seymour Junior/Senior High School in Payson.

Christine Corpus of University High School in Normal teaches vocal music, choir and madrigals.

Eric Curry is a high school physics teacher at O’Fallon Township High School in O’Fallon.

Jane Frailey from Hononegah Community High School in Rockton is a biology teacher.

Sarah Greer teaches kindergarten and first grade students at J.B. Johnson Elementary School in Alton.

Anna Kraftson-Hogue of Queen of Peace High School in Burbank teaches biology, environmental science, and earth science.

Christina Kelly is a math teacher at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

Judy Murphy teaches first graders at Olson Park Elementary School in Machesney Park.

Deborah Perryman of Elgin High School in Elgin teaches biology/environmental sciences to students in grades 9-12.

Pam Rathke is an art teacher at Ridgeview Jr-Sr. High School in Colfax.

Betty Waldhauser from Pawnee High School in Pawnee is a English and composition teacher.

Nominations for Those Who Excel are made by administrators, teachers, parents, students, or any person who knows an outstanding educator. Nominations for the 2006 Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year program will be distributed in October.

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