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Oregon lands another finalist

In 2010, the Oregon School District had the region’s first finalist for state Teacher of the Year in at least a decade. Now, they’ve done it again. Congratulations!

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

Two out of three ain’t bad for the Oregon School District.

Two finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year out of the past 3 years, that is.

Oregon has landed another teacher on the finalist list for the state’s top teaching honor, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

Her name is Pamela Steele, and she’s a fifth-grade science teacher at Oregon Elementary School.

Steele joins eight other teachers from across the state who will compete for Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2012-13.

The winner will be announced Oct. 20 in Normal during the annual Those Who Excel banquet.

Oregon is no stranger to having a teacher so honored.

In 2010, Kimberly Radostits, an Oregon High School Spanish teacher, was named one of eight finalists for Teacher of the Year.

Radostits was the first teacher from the Sauk Valley to reach the finalist round in at least a decade. An Alton teacher went on to capture top honors.

In 2011, while no teacher then working in the five-county Sauk Valley region received finalist status, a teacher who grew up in Ashton did.

His name is Josh Stumpenhorst, he is a sixth-grade language arts and social science teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville, and he was chosen as 2011-12 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

Stumpenhorst, a 1999 graduate of Ashton High School, was recognized especially for his technology-based initiatives to help students learn.

We had a chance to interview Stumpenhorst earlier this year, and we were impressed by his passion for teaching.

Now, a new crop of Illinois teachers – including Oregon’s Pamela Steele – will become involved in personal interviews as the selection process moves forward.

We wish Steele the best of luck, as we congratulate Stumpenhorst and Radostits for their efforts to elevate the profession of teaching to higher levels.

We also congratulate the Oregon School District for being the home of a Teacher of the Year finalist for the second time in 3 years.

Yep, two out of three ain’t bad.

In fact, it’s outstanding.

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