Illinois Teacher of the Year 2012
Stump the Teacher blog
Josh Stumpenhorst of Lincoln Junior High School
The Illinois State Board of Education today named Lincoln Junior High sixth-grade language arts and social science teacher Josh Stumpenhorst as the 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year. One of nine finalists, Stumpenhorst received the honor at the 37th annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year banquet in Bloomington.
“Josh is a student-centered teacher who focuses on creating effective learning that will help every student be successful. His ability to reach students of all skill levels engages them and inspires his colleagues,” said State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch. “Josh also shares his teaching strategies via an online professional learning network that he created. His educational blogs reach thousands of educators across the globe and demonstrate his leadership skills as well as his continuous efforts to be the best for his students.”
"I am absolutely blown away. This is totally unexpected. I am so pleased to win this award for District 203; it makes us all look good," stated Stumpenhorst after accepting the award in front of many of his District 203 colleagues.
"Josh is someone who we have known to be outstanding for many years. He has been an excellent role model to students and peers. Tonight is a fitting recognition of what he has accomplished in his short career. We couldn't be more proud of him," stated Superintendent Mark Mitrovich who attended the awards program.
One of nine finalists, 200 nominations
Nearly 200 nominations for Those Who Excel were reviewed and scored three times by a selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers and school board members.
The nine finalists for Teacher of the Year were interviewed and videotaped and those interviews were scored again before a final recommendation was made. Principals, faculty, parents and students submit letters on behalf of candidates as part of the nomination process.
Relationship-centered, inspired by students
Now in his ninth year of teaching, Stumpenhorst is energized by his students. Their enthusiasm for learning inspires Stumpenhorst to deliver lessons that are engaging and connected to the real world.
From a young age Stumpenhorst knew he wanted to be a teacher. He credits his upbringing, educational and athletic experiences with helping him realize the impact relationships play in every aspect of life. Stumpenhorst strives to ensure that his students establish positive and lasting relationships with peers and teachers.
Stumpenhorst is described by parents and colleagues as a passionate teacher who constantly develops innovative ways to motivate students. Parents also appreciate his ability to help students navigate the social and emotional challenges of junior high.
Stumpenhorst graduated from North Central College and holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. He is also National Board Certified in Early Adolescent Social Science. Stumpenhorst coaches basketball and track and works closely with the student council and computer club.
Stumpenhorst saw potential in the computer club and brought creativity and purpose to it. Discussions with students sparked creative ideas that bred enthusiasm and excitement. Drawing on the collective talents of the students, Stumpenhorst led them in developing a successful bi-weekly, school-wide news show.
Leadership outside the classroom
When administrators realized that the current grading system was not working, Stumpenhorst played a pivotal role in the transition to standard based grading. 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.
As Illinois Teacher of the Year, Josh Stumpenhorst will have opportunities to share his knowledge and expertise outside the classroom. Beginning in the 2012 spring semester, Stumpenhorst will be available to speak at teaching workshops, educational conferences and community meetings. He will receive a lifetime tuition waiver to state universities and will represent Illinois at the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by Council of Chief State School Officers, ING and Target. Stumpenhorst will also receive products from SMARTer Kids.