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IFT members named 2019 Teacher of the Year finalists

Three IFT members were among the outstanding teachers named this week as finalists in the 2019 Illinois State Board of Education’s annual “Those Who Excel” educator recognition program. One winner will be named “Teacher of the Year” in October.
Richard “Rick” Coppola teaches language arts at South Loop Elementary School in Chicago. He is a member of the Chicago Teachers Union (Local 1).

LoriAnne Frieri, Ed.D.,
is a social studies teacher at William Fremd High School in Palatine. She is a member of the Northwest Suburban Teachers Union (Local 1211).

Katherine Whitington, Ph.D.,
teaches English, dual-credit philosophy, Advanced Placement English literature, and composition at Percy L. Julian High School  in Chicago. She is a member of the Chicago Teachers Union (Local 1).
 “There is no more challenging – or rewarding –  job than being a teacher. Those who excel at it deserve respect and acknowledgement,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery. “The IFT is so proud that these dedicated educators are part of our union family. They represent all the men and women in our union who go the extra mile for their students and communities each day across our state." 

IFT members have a proud history of winning the top award. In 2016, the winner was Kim Thomas, a member of the Peoria Federation of Teachers (Local 780). Northwest Suburban Teachers Union (Local 1211) member Steve Elza was the 2015 winner. Other recent IFT winners include: Brian Curtin, Local 1211 (2013), Kevin Rutter, Local 1 (2009); Linda Smerge, Local 571 (2008); and Ruth Meissen, Local 540 (2007).   

More than 200 nominations were reviewed for this year’s award by a selection committee of administrators, teachers, and representatives from educational service personnel, student support personnel, and past winners before the 10 finalists were selected.   

The 2019 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be announced during the "Those Who Excel" banquet on October 20 in Bloomington-Normal. The winner will represent Illinois at NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year Program. 

Click here for the complete list of finalists. 

Congratulations and best of luck to our outstanding IFT finalists!



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