Two Unit 4 educators among those honored by state board of education

Two Unit 4 educators among those honored by state board of education

CHAMPAIGN — Two Champaign school district educators are among 241 teachers up for recognition this weekend by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Administrator Kendra Bonam and student-support staffer Susan Mitze are among the recipients of ISBE's annual Those Who Excel awards. According to ISBE, the award "celebrates outstanding classroom teachers, educational leaders and support personnel and their invaluable contributions to schools and communities."

Bonam said she purposefully hasn't broadcast her nomination or award but remains proud nonetheless.

"Originally, I think the teacher who nominated me thought she could keep it a secret," she said. "She didn't realize there was a portion I had to submit for the award. So when she contacted me to let me know about the nomination, I was surprised and honored that she thought enough of me to nominate me."

Mitze, who was nominated by a Unit 4 employee whose child interacted with her, knew she was nominated but forgot shortly after. Her work, she said, is what makes her feel truly lucky.

"I know (the nominator) thinks I go above and beyond, but I am the lucky one," she said. "To know the children with such a wide array of physical challenges and see them grow and reach for independence and inclusion in our educational system is definitely a gift that I appreciate every day. And to work with so many dedicated and driven team members who share the same hopes and dreams for these students makes my job just that much more meaningful."

Both women will receive their awards at ISBE's annual Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year Banquet, set for Saturday in Normal.

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