Staff nominated for ‘Those Who Excel’ awards

Emily Weiss and Jeff Schagrin have been named as nominees for the 2014 Teacher and Administrator of the Year Award. The winners were announced during the “Those Who Excel” banquet, with an educator from Normal, IL. placing first.
The award is part of the annual program held by the state to recognize the accomplishments and efforts made by educators in Illinois. More than 200 school staff members were nominated, but only 12 made it through as finalists.
“Nominations come from the district,” said Principal Dr. James Roscoe. “We made a team of the principals and the administration. We met a few times to discuss who we should nominate, and ultimately we chose those who we thought best showed our district for its risk taking and innovation. We could only nominate one teacher, but we also nominated members of the school staff for other categories like best collaborative team and school administrator.”
Of the three nominees representing District 127, two of them are from Grayslake North. Emily Weiss was nominated for teacher of the year and Jeff Schagrin was nominated for administrator of the year.
“Even when we had just begun discussing who we wanted to nominate, I knew in my head that I wanted people who were innovative and showcased the spirit of Grayslake North. I know that we selected the perfect people,” Roscoe said.
Weiss credits her coworkers and mentors for their help in her accomplishments leading up to the nomination.
“The nomination is hard for me to wrap my thoughts around, but…I would say is that I’ve been really lucky in my career to have such valuable experiences, having worked with wonderful people and have just amazing mentors who have helped me reach this point,” she said.
Weiss has never forgotten the reason she wanted to become a teacher in the first place: her love for learning. For her, this nomination is an opportunity to learn from her fellow nominees.
“I’m the type of teacher who loves to learn. The reason I am a teacher is because I am curious and I love to understand new things. I like to think that with everything I do, I have an experience to learn something, and this is a great experience,” Weiss said.
Before Schagrin was an associate principal, he was the social studies department chair, where he set goals and challenged himself.
“He is an excellent teacher, and I think that good teachers make good administrators. Being able to establish yourself in the classroom is a very important thing, and I think that it helps keep your students in mind when you take on bigger responsibilities,” Roscoe said.
The finalists for the awards were chosen through a selective interview process. The winners were announced on Oct. 25.
“The final banquet was held at a hotel in Bloomington, where they had all the nominees. I’d already met most of the other finalists, and they are all such wonderful teachers,” Weiss said.
For Weiss, the prestigious award is not the only thing she hopes to gain at the banquet.
“All of the other finalists are very dynamic teachers who teach different subjects and age groups across the state. I think that it’s important that teachers have good professional communities and strong relationships, since it helps them grow as teachers and as people,” she said. “I hope that this process would have helped me and I walk away having learned a lot from the other finalists.”
Additionally, staff member John Sartoris, the infrastructure operations technician, won the ISBE Award of Excellence.