Amy Truemper

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) nominated five finalists for theCivic Engagement Champion award, presented by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

Among the finalists, is Amy Truemper, a science teacher at Bednarcik Junior High School, in Aurora, part of Oswego Community Unit School District 308.

“Our students, staff, and community are so proud to have Ms. Truemper as part of our district; her dedication to the engagement and growth of students is evident in her daily student interactions and creative approach to learning,” said Dr. John Sparlin, SD 308 Superintendent of Schools.

Truemper was chosen as the SD 308 Teacher of the Year in 2015-16, as

part of the district’s PRIDE (Proudly Recognizing Individuals Demonstrating

Excellence) Recognition Program.

She has received several grants and classroom awards from local and national businesses.

At Bednarcik, Ms. Truemper sponsors the Science Bowl Team, who recently placed 2nd at the IL Regional Bowl, she coaches the award winning First Lego League Robotics Club, she coaches the Science Olympiad team, sponsors the school team in competitive Science Fairs, sponsors the national award-winning Environmentalists Team, coaches the Cross Country and Track teams, and sponsors the Yearbook Club.

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) named Chicago

Public Schools middle school social studies teacher Jane Leyderman an inaugural

Civic Engagement Champion, which comes with a $5,000 prize.

The State Board will honor Illinois’ Civic Engagement Champion and the four

finalists at its meeting Nov. 22 in Chicago. ISBE nominated five finalists for the

Civic Engagement Champion award, including Leyderman:

● Jim Hitchcock, a social studies teacher at Coal City Middle School in Coal


● Michael Feinberg, a social science teacher at Walt Disney Magnet School in


● Chuck Sheftel, a service learning coordinator at North Shore Academy in

Highland Park

● Amy Truemper, a science teacher at Bednarcik Junior High School in Aurora

“Illinois is proud to have these educators in our classrooms teaching and inspiring the next generation of leaders,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala.

These educators are showing students that their voices matter and that

they have the power to change the world for the better.”

The award coincides with an increased emphasis on civics education across Illinois classrooms. Public Act 101-254, signed this past August and effective July 1, 2020, added one semester of civics to the required courses for Illinois middle schools.

High schools began incorporating at least one semester of civics in the 2016-17

school year with the enactment of Public Acts 99-434 and 99-485.

“Civics education that begins early helps students build a lifelong understanding of how they can participate in making their communities better,” said ISBE Chair

Darren Reisberg. “I thank and congratulate our Civic Engagement Champion and

finalists for supporting students’ curiosity in and understanding of our democratic


NASBE chose Illinois as one of four states to participate in the award’s inaugural

year. The Civic Engagement Champions Award was open to all middle school

teachers in any discipline. Applicants were asked to describe how they help

students become active and responsible members of their communities.

In choosing the winner, evaluators considered educators demonstrating equitable learning, civic engagement, and support for inquiry-based learning in and out of the classroom.

For more information on the award, visit