District 186 Educator Of The Year

Education Programs

Jill Borah, math teacher at Grant Middle School, has been named the 2022 Horace Mann Educator of the Year in Springfield Public Schools. She was surprised with the news at Grant where students and staff lined the hallways to celebrate her win.

"Jill is able to see exactly what each child brings to the Grant community, and her whole teaching approach involves finding and using children's unique strengths to help them overcome their struggles and develop a positive self-concept," according to a colleague. "In many ways, she works as a social worker as well as a teacher."

Borah has worked for District 186 for 18 years. She received a $1,400 cash prize and a crystal owl. Educator of the Year finalists were David Curry (Butler Elementary), Abbey Dirksen (Southeast High School), Kari Lutchka (Addams Elementary) and Missy Netznik (Wilcox Elementary). Each will receive $250.

Ken Gilmore received Horace Mann Administrator of the Year in Springfield Public Schools. Gilmore received the surprise news at Ridgely followed by a schoolwide celebration including staff and students. He received $500 and a crystal award. Administrator of the Year finalists were Karon Durrett (Student Support Services) and Cody Trigg (Southeast High School). Each will receive $250.

The Rising Star award was given to three promising teachers who have been with the District four years or less. The Rising Stars are Lindsey Dunbar (Iles School), Marcy Hale (Lee School) and Dalton McGhiey (Lanphier High School). They each receive $250 and a crystal award.

Horace Mann has sponsored the Educator of the Year program since its inception in 1988. An independent panel of Springfield-area community and education leaders selects the Educator of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and the Rising Stars.

Previous Educator of the Year Winners

  • 2021: Carmelita Foster, Fairview Elementary School
  • 2020: Martha Jordan, Graham Elementary School
  • 2019: Christie Jones, Lincoln Magnet School
  • 2018: Lori Moore – Fairview Elementary School
  • 2017: ReChad Bradley – Southeast High School
  • 2016: Layne Zimmers – Lincoln Magnet School
  • 2015: Jeff Lightfoot – Springfield High School
  • 2014: Dee Dee Duffy – Early Learning Center
  • 2013: Maryna Mitchell – Lanphier High School
  • 2012: Melissa Beckler – Washington Middle School
  • 2011: Susan Kepp - Dubois Elementary School
  • 2010:  Teresa Holton – Southeast High School
  • 2009:  Sandra Bauer – Iles Elementary School
  • 2008:  Tamara Douglass – Southeast High School
  • 2007:  Nancy Pence – Springfield High School
  • 2006:  Sara Oehlert – Harvard Park Elementary School
  • 2005:  Tracy Buscher – Southeast High School
  • 2004:  Joseph Bunch – Springfield High School
  • 2003:  Deborah Huffman – Lanphier High School
  • 2002:  Teri Neff – Owen Marsh Elementary School
  • 2001:  Donna Jefferson – Owen Marsh Elementary School
  • 2000:  Robert Mitchell Jr. – Washington Middle School
  • 1999:  Keith Kincaid – Sandburg Elementary School
  • 1998:  Diana Roth – Lanphier High School
  • 1997:  Jim Broch – Grant Middle School
  • 1996:  Jill Grove – Jefferson Elementary School
  • 1995:  Bette Wells – Pleasant Hill Elementary School
  • 1994:  Mary C. Jackson – Springfield High School
  • 1993:  Jane Lawder – Iles Elementary School
  • 1992:  Jean Ahlberg – Lanphier High School
  • 1991:  Dennis E. Morris – Lee and Sandburg Elementary School
  • 1990:  Raymond Bruzan – Lanphier High School
  • 1989:  Melinda LaBarre – Jefferson Elementary School
  • 1988:  Sandra Carlson – Sandburg Elementary School

WBER-0803 (5-22)

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