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For Immediate Release
August 24, 2006

Finalists for State Teacher of Year Announced

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Superintendent of Education Randy J. Dunn today released the names of 10 finalists for recognition as the 2006-2007 Illinois Teacher of the Year. The finalists, representing urban and rural schools across the state, are selected from nominees through the Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel educator recognition program.

“Providing outstanding education requires outstanding teachers,” Dunn 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 160 nominations were reviewed this year by a selection committee comprised of 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 based on personal background information, the nominators recommendations, and letters of recommendation from a teacher, an administrator, a student, parent, and community member, and the nominee’s response to questions focusing on student success, collaboration, continuous learning, and leadership. The scores are then compiled and averaged to determine the level of recognition nominees receive (Excellence, Merit, or Recognition).

Teachers scoring at the Award of Excellence level become finalists for 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’ 2006-07 Teacher of the Year will be the announced during the Those Who Excel awards banquet October 7, 2006, at the Holiday Inn Select in Decatur. 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 2005 Illinois Teacher of the Year is Jacqueline Bolger who teaches French at Hononegah Community High School in Rockton (School District 207).

Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalists

Charles “Chip” Brady teaches history at Evanston Township High School in Evanston.

Michael Coy is a teacher of arts and communications at Mead Junior High School in Elk Grove Village.

Amy Heath, of Granite City Senior High School in Granite City, teaches chemistry.

Joseph Fatheree is the Instructor of Technology at Effingham High School in Effingham.

Sherry Humphries teaches science and social science to students at Illinois School for the Deaf.

Maureen McDonough is an English and Language Arts teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Rockford.

Stephen Patton, from William Fremd High School in Palatine, teaches PE.

Lynn Rule teaches first grade at Ranch View School in Naperville.

Shari Sweeney has a multiage classroom of first and second graders at Unity Point School in Carbondale.

Evelyn Walton is a fourth grade teacher at Flossie Wiley School in Urbana.

Nominations for Those Who Excel may be made by administrators, teachers, parents, students, or any person who knows an outstanding educator. Nominations for the 2007-2008 Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year program will be distributed next spring.

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