This year’s finalists include educators with a variety of backgrounds ranging from an Air Force pilot to a teacher who hands out free instruments to students in the hallway to inspire a passion for music.
“Being a teacher means being a leader, a creative thinker, a problem-solver, a caregiver, an advocate, and a bridge between students and their futures,” said state Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala. “Teachers inspire, connect and transform — not just students, but entire communities. One of the gifts of having a career in education is the privilege to work alongside and learn from educators who bring creativity, compassion and courage to their schools every day. I am deeply honored to recognize Illinois’ 2020 Teacher of the Year finalists.”
Susan Converse has represented Illinois as the 2019 Illinois Teacher of the Year. She is a special education teacher at Edwardsville High School in Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7.
“The Illinois Teacher of the Year is given the priceless opportunity to serve as ambassador for all the outstanding educators across our state,” said Converse. “I am grateful to have had the chance this year to learn from and collaborate with Teachers of the Year from across the country and share the wonderful things that are happening in education in Illinois.”
The finalists were selected by a committee of administrators, teachers, educational service personnel, student support personnel, and past Illinois Teachers of the Year. The final selection of the Illinois Teacher of the Year is made by the state Superintendent of Education.
The Illinois State Board of Education will announce the 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year during the Those Who Excel banquet on Oct. 19 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal. The Illinois Teacher of the Year will represent Illinois in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year Program.
The 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year finalists are: