Lindsey Jensen, English teacher at Dwight Township High School, has single-handedly put Dwight on the map.

“It is my privilege to welcome all of you here today for a very special recognition honoring Mrs. Lindsey Jensen, DTHS English Teacher,” said DTHS Principal Dan Kaiser at an all-school assembly

Monday afternoon.

“As most of you already know, Mrs. Jensen made headlines throughout this area and the entire state as she was selected as the Illinois Teacher of the Year this past Saturday evening.”

Jensen herself was almost at a loss for words — almost.

“I am elated, I am excited and a little bit terrified, but ultimately I am proud that this brings attention to all of the positive things happening in education here in Dwight, Illinois,” she told The Paper on Monday.

She was selected as the top teacher among a field of 130,000 teachers across the state.

Superintendent Richard Jancek had only words of praise for Jensen.

“Mrs. Lindsey Jensen is an outstanding professional educator at DTHS who challenges her students every day, motivates them to push past their own limitations, makes content applicable to their lives, and all while building relationships,” Jancek said.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff, we congratulate Lindsey on being named 2018 Illinois Teacher Of The Year,” he added.

“I read in the Sund

ay Pantagraph that there has not been a Teacher of the Year selected from the Bloomington-Normal area for 18 years,” said Kaiser at the assembly.

“And for that person to c

ome from Dwight Township High School is absolutely amazing,” Kaiser continued. “It may have just put our small town on the map for many people in this state. For that reason, and many more, we congratulate Lindsey Jensen today.”

Jensen was named the Illinois Teacher of the Year Saturday at an awards dinner in Bloomington.

“We are so proud of Lindsey and all she does for her students every day, going the extra mile on

behalf of them to make sure they not only learn all they can but to live up to their potential in every way,” said Al Llorens, Illinois Education Association vice president.

“We are proud of all of our members who were nominated and acknowledged. IEA was well-represented at the Those Who Excel event and it speaks volumes about the work our members are doing day in and day out to ensure a bright future for kids in this state.”

Eight of the 10 finalists for the Illinois State Board of Education’s teacher of the year were IEA members.

The “Those Who Excel” banquet and program in Normal acknowledged the work of more than 230 teachers and school personnel from throughout the state.

A selection committee comprised of administrators, teachers, educational service personnel, student support personnel and past Illinois teacher of the year winners reviewed 234 nominations this year. Jensen will represent Illinois at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year Program, among other responsibilities.

Kaiser explained what this awards means.

“It means that you are knowledgeable of the content you teach,” he said.

“It means that you are well-prepared and know how to present material in a multitude of ways so that every studenttruly understands the concepts that are being taught.

“It means you are a master of organization and can manage a classroom so that everyone has respect and rapport for one another.

“It means that you are a great communicator and can link what is being taught to student interests and cultures.

“It means you can develop questions that make students think deeply and challenges them to develop their own questions and dig deeper for the answers. It means that you are a life-long learner and are constantly working to better yourself and never come to the conclusion that you are the best that you can possibly be.”

He added many teachers at Dwight and across the state match those characteristics. But what sets her apart?

“If you have had Mrs. Jensen in the classroom you know some of those extraordinary characteristics,” Kaiser continued. “They arethe characteristics that made others take notice as she went through that grueling selection process. She is energetic, she is theatrical, she is musical, and she is a performer. She is perhaps the most positive person you may ever meet in your lifetime (am I right?).

“She is the one person that you can go to and will be guaranteed a smile and a positive statement as you walk in her door. It boils down to this — Lindsey Jensen is not just a teacher, she is a humanitarian.

“She is concerned with human welfare and the happiness of others. She does whatever she can possibly do to assist her school and community and those who are a part of it.

“As Mr. Borne stated, ‘She is more than a teacher of English — she is a teacher of people. She inspires her students to want to be their best and they respond favorably.’”

Kaiser went on to quote Jensen herself:

“Teachers are in the business of human beings, and teaching requires becoming part of students’ lives and making connections that no other professional experiences.”