Er-Er-Er-Oooo! That’s my son.

Er-Er-Er-Ooooo!  That’s me crowing.

He’s one of the 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalists

Seth Brady teaches anthropology, comparative religions and world cultures at Naperville Central High School in Naperville Community Unit School District 203.

My children are all grown up now.  All in their middle years.  Okay, I mean middle-age.  That’s hard to swallow.

Sometimes I ponder about what wonderful people they each became.  How lucky I am to have such lovely people in my life.  Did I really have anything to do with it?

When they were little, I became impatient. I wished to do more; to impact the world, if even in a small way.  I wanted to do something.  Something that would make a difference.  My friend, Cheryl’s advice provided a touchstone:

Your job right now is to grow your children into healthy, happy adults who love each other and who care about humanity.

I hope I did a good job.

Today, Wrestler #2 shines.  (He’s the first one pictured.  Isn’t he handsome?)  He’s one of the finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year. What good company he is in.  Look at all those accomplished teachers.  I remember him when…. Well, I remember him when God and I were the only two who did know him.

Now I’m gushing.

Am I going to the banquet?  I’m invited, and yes, I’m going.  I hope I can find something to wear without buttons, because for sure, I’ll be busting them.

Here’s the press release:

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the 12 finalists for the 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year, who will be named during the “Those Who Excel” banquet in October. The state’s annual educator recognition program will acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of more than 200 educators and school personnel from throughout the state and honor one individual as the Illinois Teacher of the Year.

“This program gives us the opportunity to meet outstanding educators at every level and recognize leadership and achievements in classrooms throughout Illinois,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Their passion, creativity and commitment to students is an inspiration. We are pleased to publicly recognize the individuals who make a difference in students’ lives every day.”

A selection committee composed of administrators, teachers and representatives from educational service personnel, student support personnel and past Illinois Teacher of the Year winners reviewed 231 nominations this year.

Each nomination is individually reviewed and scored three times. Nominations are scored based on personal background information, the nominating recommendation and letters of support from colleagues, parents and students. In addition, nominees must respond to questions focusing on student success, collaboration, continuous learning and leadership. Scores are compiled and averaged to determine one of three levels of recognition: Excellence, Merit or Recognition.

Teachers earning an “Award of Excellence” are finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year. Illinois has named a state Teacher of the Year since the mid-1950s. In 1970, the Illinois State Board of Education became involved in the Teacher of the Year selection, and the first banquet was held in 1974. During the 1980s, ISBE began adding other categories so that educators in a variety of positions could be publicly acknowledged for their efforts. The Early Career Educator became the most recent addition in 2006.

Pam Reilly is the 2014 Illinois Teacher of the Year. Pam teaches second grade at Woodbury Elementary School in Sandwich Community Unit School District 430.

”It has been and continues to be quite an amazing journey,” Reilly said. “I can’t express how grateful I am to be Illinois Teacher of the Year and to be recognized for a career I truly love. It is an honor and privilege to represent teachers and students across Illinois.”

The Teacher of the Year will represent Illinois at NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year Program.

The other finalists are:  2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalists

Susan Diggle is a fifth-grade teacher at Germantown Hills Intermediate School in Germantown Hills School District 69.

 Lisa Doughan teaches reading to students in kindergarten through second grade at Crestwood Elementary in Community Unit School District 4 in Paris.

Steven Elza is an automotive technology teacher at William Fremd High School in Township High School District 211.

 Lauren Hoeft teaches third grade at Prairie Elementary School in Kildeer Countryside Community Consolidated School District 96.

 Jamie  Jones is a third-grade teacher at Gilson Brown School in Alton Community Unit School District 11.

 Heather Kraus teaches fifth grade at Southbury Elementary School in Oswego Community Unit School District 308.

 Mary Lynn Meredith is an art teacher at Prairieland Elementary School in McLean County Unit 5.

Lynne Olsen teaches instrumental music at Auburn High School in Rockford Public Schools District 205.

Jennifer Smith is an eighth-grade science teacher at Monticello Middle School in Monticello Community Unit School District 25.

Emily Weiss teaches social studies, U.S. history, American studies and public service courses in grades 11 and 12 at Grayslake North High School in Grayslake Community High School District 127.

 Wirth teaches chemistry, advanced chemistry and physics at Sparta High School in Sparta Community Unit School District 140.