MOLINE -- A dozen of the area's top educators will be recognized tonight as Master Teachers by The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
That raises the number of teachers recognized for educational excellence by the newspapers to 342 since the Master Teacher program began in 1990.
The 21st annual ceremony will begin with a social hour reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. toast, dinner and a 7:40 p.m. awards presentation at the i wireless Center in Moline.
The Master Teachers program was created by the newspapers to honor educational excellence in the Western Illinois area. UnitedHealthcare is a presenting sponsor.
Award winners include four teachers from Moline-Coal Valley, five from Rock Island-Milan and one each from Rockridge, Riverdale and Silvis. Recipients include six high school teachers, five from middle schools and one elementary teacher.
This year's winners are:
-- Jennifer Caldwell, science teacher and counselor, Silvis Junior High School
-- Angie Curnyn, eighth-grade language arts, Wilson Middle School, Moline
-- Jeff Henry, eighth-grade math, Rockridge Junior High School, Edgington
-- Kitty Hillyer, first grade, Jane Addams Elementary School, Moline
-- Steven Inman, special education, Washington Junior High School, Rock Island
-- Elizabeth Kantner, resource math, Rock Island High School
-- Benjamin Kirgan, ninth-12th grade biology/Earth science, Rock Island High School
-- Lisa Martens, speech/language pathologist, Rock Island High School
-- Kelly Mulcahy, seventh-grade geography, Wilson Middle School, Moline
-- Joel Ryser, art, Moline High School
-- Melissa Secker, health and physical education, Riverdale High School, Port Byron
-- Nancy Wolber, global biology, Rock Island High School
Each winner will get a specially crafted plaque and commemorative brass bell.
Award winners were chosen by a panel of judges representing education, business, community and the newspapers.
This year's judges were:
-- Rondi Doyle, Child Abuse Council community relations/support director
-- Bob Gound, Mercer County Schools assistant superintendent
-- Sarah Gardner, Radish magazine editor
-- Barb Nelson, teacher at Southwest Elementary , Geneseo, and 1998 Master Teacher honoree
-- Martin Oliva, UnitedHealthcare account executive
-- Sheree Rogers, teacher, Bicentennial Elementary, Coal Valley, and 2006 Master Teacher honoree
-- Tina Sims, principal, Taylor Ridge and Reynolds Elementary.
The Master Teacher program began in 1990 when the late Joe Versluis, a Rock Island teacher, and Chuck Dyson, former principal at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, approached the newspapers about honoring area teachers.
The first awards banquet, on March 21, 1991, honored 17 teachers from the Illinois Quad-Cities and Western Illinois. Mr. Versluis, who died in 1997, was honored posthumously at the 1998 awards.
Today is Wednesday, May 22, the 142nd day of 2013. There are 223 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Large quantities of ice from LaCrosse and Lake Pepin are beingshipped on ice boats, towed by steamers to St. Louis and points below. 1888 -- 125 years ago: With the Mississippi River at 18 feet above the low water stage,Rock Island is waging a valiant fight to keep the river from flooding the entire city. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Approval has been given by the city commission for paving 45thStreet between 7th and 11th Avenues. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Herndon Wright, of East Moline, has won the discus-throw title, by aheave of more than 140 feet, to set a new high school record at Champaign. 1963 -- 50 years ago: With the Selective Service Law recently extended by Congress forfour more years, Mrs. Hazel Doris reminded young men that they must register withinfive days after attaining their 18th birthday. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Over 500 Quad-Cities area retired volunteers were honoredrecently for their community services at a Retired Senior Volunteer Program luncheonat Palmer Auditorium in Davenport. Guest speaker, William Moffitt, director of productengineering of Deere & Co., spoke about leadership and stressed the importance ofcommunity volunteers.