- Primary Teacher of the Year: Verna Graham, Southwest Elementary School.
Graham has been a kindergarten teacher her entire career at District 118. Graham initially worked at Daniel Elementary School, starting in 1986, and then moved to the newly built Southwest Elementary School in 2001.
“She is very child-focused and patient,” Denman said. “She’s a quiet leader.”
- Intermediate Teacher of the Year: Jeff Cooper, Garfield Elementary School.
Cooper started his career in District 118 as a third- and fourth-grade teacher at Northeast Elementary School in 1979. When East Park Middle School became an elementary school in 1987, Cooper became a fourth-grade teacher at East Park, but moved on in 1988 to become a fifth-grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School, where he has been ever since.
“He’s taught in the same school, in the same classroom, for 25 years,” Denman said. “He’s very motivating and an outstanding teacher.”
- Middle School Teacher of the Year: Mitzi Campbell, Kenneth D. Bailey Academy.
Campbell started out student teaching in Great Britain but wanted to work in an alternative school. Denman said she was “instrumental in the transition” of District 118’s alternative program to the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy this school year.
“She has a big heart for kids,” he said. “She’s very organized, very caring and very positive. She sometimes welcomes the students with a song in the morning.”
- High School Teacher of the Year: Chris Taylor, Danville High School.
Taylor started teaching English at DHS in 2002 after having taught in Windsor and at Schlarman High School.
“He has high expectations. He doesn’t let students opt out,” Denman said. “He’s always pleasant and has a way with kids.”
Tickets are $5 for the sixth annual “An Evening of Singing and Dancing” and the presentation of the Dr. David L. Fields Outstanding Teacher Awards, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, in the Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at Danville High School.
Tickets may be purchased at either of the Danville McDonald’s locations, Neuhoff Broadcasting at 1501 N. Washington St., or at any Danville public school.