“Hope is what has made a difference in my classroom…
I believe the same practices I use in my classroom will yield success
in other classrooms. Happy learning experiences, Opportunities for every
child to experience success, Positive community role models, and high
Expectations that stretch student learning, form the basis through which
we can increase student performance and ultimately change the society
we live in for the better.”
2005 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year
It’s been a short four years since Susan Illgen received
her bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from Northeastern
and she’s already coveted top honors in the state. Illgen, a kindergarten
teacher at the Grove Lower Elementary School, was recently named the 2005
Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
During the induction ceremony, State Superintendent Sandy
Garrett praised Illgen for her belief that ‘students should be the
center of the curriculum.’
Illgen is credited with developing a project she calls “HOPE,”
which stands for Happy learning experiences; Opportunities for every child
to experience success; Positive community role models; and high Expectations
that stretch student learning.
Other finalists for the award were Judith Bruce, Mustang;
Karen Evans (Yukon); Roy Jackson (Pryor); Diane Keene (Lawton); Jan Kelley
(Durant); Glenda Lillard (Byng); Jan McClaren (Claremore); Leah McDonald
(Edmond); Melisa Rice (Macomb); Bettye Smith (Watonga); and Charlotte
Wheeler (Mountain View-Gotebo).
Illgen will receive more than $8,000 in cash and stipends,
use of a new car for a year, one year’s worth of gasoline, a framed
certificate, a trophy and other gifts.