The Illinois Network of Charter Schools celebrated outstanding individuals who are making a difference in public education and the charter public school movement during the 2016 Illinois Charter Excellence Awards Luncheon. These honorees included high school seniors and eighth-grade students who embody the missions of their charter schools, as well as school leaders and advocates who work tirelessly every day to improve education in schools and communities across Illinois.

INCS thanks Invest For Kids, who generously donated $30,000 to recognize the hard work, commitment, and achievements of the Illinois Charter School Principal of the Year, Illinois Charter Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and Illinois Charter High School Teacher of the Year. High school seniors were awarded $1,000 scholarships for college, while eighth graders were presented with $500 scholarships for high school. The Illinois Charter School Parent Advocate was awarded  $500  to help continue their efforts to improve education for all children.

Congratulations to all of the 2016 Illinois Charter Excellence Awards honorees!

  • Illinois Charter School Champion of the Year: The Honorable André M. Thapedi
  • Illinois Charter School Principal of the Year: Melissa Sweazy, UCSN – Esmeralda Santiago

  • Illinois Elementary Charter School Teacher of the Year: Jessica A. Jaimes, Erie Elementary Charter School

  • Illinois Charter High School Teacher of the Year: Kevin D. Bradley, YouthBuild Mclean County Charter School

  • Illinois Charter School Parent Advocate: Sonya Moore, University of Chicago Charter School – Donoghue Campus
  • Outstanding Illinois Charter School Seniors
    • Terrance Lee Lindsey, North Lawndale College Prep – Collins Campus
    • Anthony Joel Rucker, Chicago International Charter School – Longwood Campus
    • Cristal Valencia, Intrinsic Schools
    • Stefanie Villalpando, EPIC Academy
  • Outstanding Illinois Charter School Eighth Graders
    • Carlos Isaac Montalvo, UCSN – Brighton Park Elementary School
    • Martha Lopez, Academy for Global Citizenship