District 97 Selects Nominees for ISBE Teacher of the Year and Those Who Excel Awards

Those Who Excel graphic

Teacher of the Year graphicThank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for the state's 2021-22 Teacher of the Year and Those Who Excel Awards. While everyone who was nominated has had a profound and lasting impact on our schools and the children we serve, the district's official nominations are limited by the state. With this in mind, the administration reviewed all of the nominations it received, and selected the individuals below to represent the district in Teacher of the Year, as well as Those Who Excel in the categories of administrator, team, educational service personnel and community volunteer.

Congratulations to all of our nominees! Your hard work, tireless efforts and commitment to education have contributed to the success of our schools and helped our students excel both in and out of the classroom.  

Applications are due no later than May 21, 2021.

Teacher of the Year

Classroom Teacher

  • Ashley Kannan, humanities teacher at Julian Middle School

Those Who Excel


  • John Hodge, principal at Irving Elementary School


  • Natalie Campbell and Nicole Grant, co-teachers at Whittier Elementary School
  • Nicole Pines and Elyse Smith, co-teachers at Mann Elementary School

Educational Service Personnel

  • Lee-Ann Roskopf, administrative assistant at Lincoln Elementary School

Community Volunteer

  • Melissa De Jesus-Vasquez, parent at Irving Elementary School

All Teacher of the Year Nominees

  • Joel Blecha, Irving
  • Mary Kelly, Irving
  • Kiera Moody, Irving
  • Anne Planek, Irving
  • Kara Sakellaris, Irving
  • Nick Sakellaris, Irving
  • Mohogany Williams, Irving
  • Ashley Kannan, Julian
  • Andrew Seymour, Julian
  • Erica Childress, Lincoln
  • Ciarra Logan, Lincoln
  • Andrew Roh, Lincoln
  • Kimberly Rosales, Lincoln
  • Eric Podlasek, Longfellow
  • Hannah Tatro, Longfellow
  • Juliette Friel, Whittier