Lincoln Junior High School sixth-grade language arts and social science teacher Josh Stumpenhorst was named 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year Saturday night during the 37th annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year banquet in Bloomington.
Stumpenhorst was chosen from among nine finalists. A teacher at Naperville School District 203, he is in his ninth year of teaching.
"I am absolutely blown away,” Stumpenhorst said. “This is totally unexpected. I am so pleased to win this award for District 203; it makes us all look good."
Stumpenhorst made his comments after receiving the honor in front of many of his colleagues. District 203 issued a news release late Saturday night after the award ceremony.
Almost 200 nominations for Those Who Excel were reviewed and scored three times by a selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers and school board members, according to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
The nine finalists for Teacher of the Year were interviewed and videotaped and those interviews were scored again before a final recommendation was made, according to a news release from the board. Principals, faculty, parents and students submit letters on behalf of candidates as part of the nomination process.
"Josh is someone who we have known to be outstanding for many years. He has been an excellent role model to students and peers,” Superintendent Mark Mitrovich, who attended the awards ceremony, said in a news release Saturday night. “Tonight is a fitting recognition of what he has accomplished in his short career. We couldn't be more proud of him."
The Illinois State Board of Education cited the role Stumpenhorst played in changes made in the district’s grading system.
“Stumpenhorst played a pivotal role in the transition to standard based grading,” the ISBE news release said. “He read, researched, developed and sought feedback on a standard based grading model he designed. Armed with the thoughts of others, he set about retooling the system and sharing his analysis with team members. He helped colleagues understand the new process and encouraged them to participate in the creation of the end result.”
State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch credited Stumpenhorst with being a student-centered teacher who focuses on learning strategies that will help every student achieve. He was also credited with working with his peers to share learning strategies through an online professional learning network her created. He also interacts with educators worldwide through educational blogs.
"This is such a wonderful night for all of our teachers,” Kitty Ryan, District 203 assistant superintendent for elementary education said in the news release. “His award really speaks too the quality of teaching and learning in our district. We are so proud."