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Excellence in Education Awards Recognize Educators in DeKalb County

The DeKalb County Community Foundation and DeKalb County Regional Office of Education are pleased to announce this year’s Excellence in Education Award recipients. Recipients are educators and support staff from Hiawatha and Sycamore school districts.

The Excellence in Education Awards recognize teachers, administrators, and support staff who have inspired a love of learning in students and play an active role in their schools and communities in DeKalb County. Support for the awards come through an endowed Fund at the Community Foundation created by retired Sycamore elementary school teacher, Yvonne Johnson. Winners receive a check for $1,000, an engraved clock, and personalized medallion. Thank you to Yvonne Johnson for her generosity and for her desire to recognize quality educators in our community.

“The DeKalb ROE enthusiastically welcomes this year’s group of award recipients,” said Regional Superintendent Amanda Christensen. “I am saddened that we were not able to hold our annual reception and dinner as it is always a highlight of my year. I wish all nominees, all recipients, and all educators everywhere best wishes as we navigate difficult teaching times right now.”

Out of 22 nominations from school districts across the county, five outstanding individuals were chosen to be the recipients this year. This marks a year where over 100 individuals have been acknowledged for their commitment to demonstrating excellence in teaching and administration since the award’s inception in 1999.

Over the past 21 years, 104 educators were recognized and $104,000 in awards distributed. “It was an honor to read through the recipient nominations and letters of support this year,” said Community Foundation Grants Director Tiffany McQueen Lewis. “It was humbling to see how many lives and generations of families were touched by their dedication. Each of these individuals stood out as educators who create a learning environment where every student feels that he/she is a valued member of the learning community. That is a gift that can last a lifetime. The gift of feeling valued and seen.”

2020 Excellence in Education Awards Recipients:

  • Support Staff: Michelle Petersen, Support Staff, Hiawatha CUSD #426
  • PreK – 5th Grade Teacher: Jami Thompson, 5th Grade Teacher, West Elementary School – Sycamore CUSD #427
  • 6th – 8th Grade Teacher: Lisa Miller, ESL Teacher, Hiawatha Jr/Sr High School – CUSD #426
  • 9th – 12th Grade Teacher: Joshua Dodge, Agricultural Instructor/FFA Advisor, Hiawatha Jr/Sr High School – CUSD #426
  • Administration: Nick Reineck, Assistant Principal, Sycamore High School – CUSD #427
Learn more about the Excellence in Education Award Recipients

Pictured: Award recipients receive a check for $1,000, an engraved clock, and personalized medallion.

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