Josh Stumpenhorst ’03 gets to go to NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. He’ll also get to meet President Obama and the first lady at a White House dinner in the spring. He may even be invited to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game.
Those are some of the perks that come with being named the Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012. The Illinois State Board of Education announced the award Oct. 22 during the Those Who Excel banquet in Normal.
The Teacher of the Year also receives a lifetime tuition waiver to state universities and fields numerous requests to speak at conferences and visit schools. Stumpenhorst will have to keep up with the whirlwind of activities while maintaining his workload teaching language arts and social science to sixth-graders at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville Community Unit School District 203.
“I do it for the kids,” he says. “You have to try to get to know them as people before you’re able to teach them as students.”
Stumpenhorst earned his undergraduate degree in social science and secondary education at North Central College, where he participated in the Junior/Senior Scholars Program.
“The department of education is very proud of Josh,” says Maureen Kincaid, associate professor of education and chair of education at North Central. “As a student at North Central, Josh excelled and he has carried that into his teaching career.”
Stumpenhorst recently returned to his alma mater to share his knowledge about best practices in teaching with current North Central students.
“It’s very clear that Josh has embraced the importance of being a lifelong learner,” Kincaid says. “He is always keeping abreast of best practices and has an incredible network of professionals that he has connected with on professional networking sites.”
Stumpenhort writes about his teaching experiences on a blog he calls Stump the Teacher and has been named to the Emerging Leaders Class of 2011 by the International Society of Technology Educators. His Tweeting (@stumpteacher) and blogging about educating youngsters have earned recognition for how teachers could use social media.
At Lincoln, Stumpenhorst also is a team leader, boys basketball coach, track coach, member of the social science curriculum committee and serves as an advisor to Lincoln’s computer club. He holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
“We are extremely proud of Josh,” says Andrea Paterala, principal of Lincoln Junior High. “It’s an accolade for him as a teacher, for Lincoln as a building and for the district. Josh is part of North Central College’s network of teachers, students and alumni. We’ve been fortunate to tap into that diversity and creativity of instruction.”
Stumpenhorst says his most influential professors at North Central included Ann Durkin Keating—the Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History—and David Frolick, professor of political science emeritus, who taught a seminar about the Holocaust that Stumpenhorst found inspiring.
He lives in Oswego with his wife, Christie Guido ’02 Stumpenhorst, and their two young children.
He was Outstanding Senior Man at North Central and was a conference champion in triple jump for the track and field team. He did his student-teaching at Lincoln Junior High, where he has taught since 2003.
“When you’re in college, you can talk about how it’ll be when you’re in class but you’ll never know until you get in front of a class,” he says. “You have to experience everything to know what you want.
You’ve got to be able to connect and share with others in your building. It’s true of any profession.”
North Central Now Annual Report 2011