ISBE recognizes CUSD 10 educators for Those Who Excel
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By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Illinois State Board of Education recognized three educators of Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 staff as being among Those Who Excel in 2023.
Collinsville High School assistant principal Charlotte Fisher, Collinsville Middle School library/media specialist Michael Hayman and Maryville Elementary special education teacher Jessica May were among 490 educators honored.
The annual ISBE Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awards applauds the educators who made lasting impacts on students, families and fellow staffers at their schools.
Fisher joined CUSD 10 in 2008 and she says she has a passion for teaching and learning, especially students with disadvantages. She began her career as a special education teacher and said each day presented new challenges, but she enjoyed learning, listening and growing
She values her transition from teacher to administrator, because her leadership position allows her to support her colleagues, teachers, students and families from a different platform.
“I am not one for the spotlight,” Fisher said. “My focus will always be on the work needed in our communities and schools for students.”
Fisher added that she is a leader who strives to provide structure, empathy and support for all students.
“There is no substitute for good educational leaders,” Fisher said. “The most rewarding experience any educator can receive is witnessing the moment when a student truly gets it and begins to love learning or have hope for the future.”
Michael Haymman, of Douglas, Illinois was a classroom teacher for five years before becoming a member of the Kahok family in 2005. Hayman started his career in the St. Louis City Public School system before landing in Alton, where his wife April currently works as a music teacher. Hayman also has an 11-year old daughter named Kate, who is in the 6th grade at Liberty Middle School.
He has made the Collinsville Middle School Library/Media Center the heart of the school, a think-tank for creative students. It’s also a sanctuary for students looking for a place to fit in.
“The vision and mission of my middle school library/media center is not a warehouse of artifacts, but a cognitive playground for the we empower,” Hayman said. “It’s an environment of opportunity for students, teachers, staff and parents to explore, discover, connect, experiment, research and create content.”
Hayman believes that students must put forth the majority of thought and effort to learn for themselves, be self-sufficient and a problem solver. So instead of telling a student why exactly something happens, he asks them to theorize why it happens.
“It’s that process of discovery in which real learning takes place and it becomes more impactful and challenging too,” Hayman said.
Hayman noticed that reading in the district had declined since the pandemic began in 2020. He worked with teachers, administrators and CMS’ speech language pathologist to develop the prototype for a reading incentive to recognize areas of need and encourage learning.
Jessica May has been a special education teacher at Maryville Elementary School since 2005. During her tenure, she worked successfully as both a resource teacher and co-teacher. Carmen Loemaker, principal for Maryville Elementary explained that May has been a calming presence for students and parents alike.
“Through the years Mrs. May has managed countless challenging students and parents,” Loemaker said. “She has been able to assure parents that their child’s Individualized Education Program is implemented with integrity and fidelity.”
ISBE received a record number of nominations and applications for the 2023 Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awards. A committee of administrators, teachers, educational service personnel, student support personnel and past Illinois Teachers of the Year selected this year’s awardees. ISBE will celebrate the awardees at a banquet on April 23.
CUSD 10 Superintendent Dr. Brad Skertich spoke of the exemplary work that Fisher, Hayman and May performed in their duties.
“On behalf of our entire district we would like to congratulate Charlotte, Jessica and Michael on their recognition and thank them for their dedication to our students, district and community,” Skertich said. “We are fortunate to have a great staff throughout our district and these three are shining examples.”