ISBE 2020-21 Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Early Career Educator and Those Who Excel Program Awardees
For immediate release
Contact: Theresa Komitas
Phone: (630) 608-5031
Illinois State Board of Education 2020-21
Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Early Career Educator and Those Who Excel Program Awardees
Oswego, Ill. (October 22, 2020) — Since 1970, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has sponsored the Illinois Teacher of the Year program, recognizing the best of the teaching profession in Illinois. All public and nonpublic preK-12 educators in Illinois with more than five years of teaching experience are eligible. The top nominees from eight regions are designated as Regional Teachers of the Year; the Illinois Teacher of the Year is selected from that cohort. Bilingual, Early Childhood, and Special Education Teachers of the Year are also recognized from those nominees. The Outstanding Early Career Educator award is presented to the top teacher in Illinois with one-four years of teaching experience.
Also since 1970, the ISBE has sponsored the Those Who Excel program to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our state's public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in the following five categories: school administrator, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteer and teams. Nomination materials for Illinois Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Early Career Educator and Those Who Excel nominees are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations.
Awards of Excellence, Meritorious Service, and Special Recognition were to be presented to the Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Early Educators and Those Who Excel program winners at ISBE’s Award banquet on October 17th, 2020 in Normal, Illinois. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions in place limiting large gatherings, this year’s in-person event was canceled.
Oswego Community Unit School District 308 is proud to congratulate the 2020-21 ISBE award recipients in the Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Early Educators and Those Who Excel programs.
Tyler S. Haymond (PL) received the Award of Meritorious Service in the category of administrator. Mr. Haymond is the Principal at Plank Junior High School and provides amazing leadership and communication, especially during COVID-19. His weekly Pirate’s Cove Newsletters to parents and his Captain’s Log to staff help to keep everyone informed of the important and relevant information taking place. During the early stages of COVID, he hosted weekly staff live meets using Google Meets, which inspired his staff to do the same with their students. He believes in working with parents, students, and staff to further promote academic growth and student success by teaching them the essential academic and social skills needed to succeed in high school and beyond.
Alexandra M. Wooden (BH) received the Award of Meritorious Service in the category of Classroom Teacher. Ms. Wooden is a driven, compassionate, organized and determined leader at Boulder Hill Elementary School. She goes above and beyond in every area for students and staff. As a core member of MTSS, it is common for Ms. Wooden to spend at least 10 hours a week meeting with groups of students and using her expertise in literacy to help bridge gaps in learning. Ms. Wooden is also a core part of the building’s leadership team and was a core member of the Community Night project that the school held in February. Ms. Wooden’s confidence, knowledge, coaching, eagerness and support are very appreciated at Boulder Hill Elementary School.
Joshua R. Johnson (TR) received the Award of Meritorious Service in the category of Outstanding Early Career Educator. Mr. Johnson is a band teacher at Traughber Junior High School and displays a maturity to his understanding of music when he teaches his students. He has a strong commitment to student achievement and a high standard of musical excellence. Josh’s goal is to have his students experience the joy that comes from the process of music-making and guiding students through the steps that will help them to succeed.
Kathleen Lynn Lund (SLP) received the Award of Meritorious Service in the category of Educational Service Personnel. Ms. Lund works tirelessly in her leadership role as a Speech-Language Pathologist to the elementary K-5 buildings throughout the district. Ms. Lund provided direction and support pertaining to the new Compensatory Service Minute Documentation and Guidelines and she established a district feeding and swallowing team with guidelines and protocols. She is prompt, professional and thorough. She puts students first and makes sure that her fellow SLPs are best equipped to provide the best services.
Jacquie Bucher (PL Parent) received the Award of Meritorious Service in the Community Volunteer category. Ms. Bucher served as the Home & School Access Coordinator at Plank during the 2019-20 school year. She would spend numerous hours purchasing items needed for concession stand merchandise, coordinating delicious quarterly staff appreciation lunches, volunteering at student dances and other various after-school events. Jacquie would do all of these things with a kind word to offer and a friendly smile to everyone she worked with.
Oswego East Wolf Parents PTO (Pictured left to right: Holly Twardowski, treasurer; Lisa Anne Crispi, President; and June Charlett, vice president)
received the Award of Meritorious Service in the Team category. Oswego East High School is very lucky to have such an amazing parent support organization behind them and supporting them. This group supports the school, the students, the staff, the administration and the community unconditionally. Volunteers commit countless hours to make this school the best possible for all involved by supporting administration in their needs; providing supplies and assistance as needed to teachers; organizing activities, support, fan/spirit-wear, events for the students; informational events for parents; scholarships, memorable events/activities for seniors; and much, much more. OE is a better place because of this team.
To see a complete listing of Teacher of the Year and Outstanding Early Career Educator state winners, click here (Teacher). To see a complete listing of the Those Who Excel state winners, click here (Those Who Excel).
Congratulations to this year’s District 308 ISBE Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Early Career Educator and Those Who Excel Awardees.
Mission Statement: In partnership with our families and communities, Community Unit School District 308 will educate all students to reach their highest potential.