ISBE Honors Top Educators and School Personnel at Annual Those Who Excel Banquet in Normal

Illinois Teacher of the Year to be named Oct. 17

NORMAL, IL – State education officials will honor 250 of Illinois’ outstanding educators later this month at the 40th annual Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year banquet in Normal. Among the educators will be the 10 Teacher of the Year finalists, one of whom will be named the top Illinois educator for 2016.

“I am so happy to publicly recognize and thank educators for the great work they do day in and day out to help students succeed,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. “Their tireless efforts and dedication to Illinois students are greatly appreciated.”

Local school district leaders and members of school communities nominate candidates for this recognition.  A committee of peers, organized through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), chooses the award winners who will be honored at a banquet Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal. The committee represents statewide education organizations and includes former award winners.

“There may be no tougher or more important job than teaching our children, and those who excel deserve to be recognized,” said Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery.

Two-hundred-and-fifty recipients at the Oct. 17 banquet will receive recognition on three levels and across multiple categories including classroom teacher, school administrator, and student support personnel.

“These educators have distinguished themselves for their exceptional work in their respective fields,” said Cinda Klickna, Illinois Education Association President. “These award recipients represent true excellence and their students are indeed lucky to have them in their lives.”

The Teacher of the Year serves as Illinois’ ambassador for the teaching profession during the 2015-16 school year and represents Illinois in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the ING Foundation. Steve Elza, an automotive technology teacher at Fremd High School in Township High School District 211, served as Illinois ambassador for teaching during the 2014-15 school year.

“As the 2015 Teacher of the Year, I have been afforded many incredible opportunities to learn, share, and support other teachers, and more importantly our students throughout Illinois and across the country,” Elza said.

A complete list of local recipients by county can be accessed at