Chicagoland's Best and Brightest Social Studies Teachers Honored With 'Independence Awards' From Pearson

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Pearson Foundation Hosts Visit of Original 1776 Print of Declaration of Independence

Senator Dick Durbin (left) was the keynote speaker at the Pearson Independence Awards in Chicago. Also pictured are Curie High School Principal Phillip Perry (seated left) and Pat McHugh, Pearson's Vice President for the Midwest and Northeast (seated right).

Forty-two Chicagoland teachers are recipients of the first Pearson Independence Awards, recognizing them as the best and the brightest in social studies education. The education services and technology company Pearson honored these teachers for their unique combination of innovation, creativity and passion at ceremonies in Chicago and Oakbrook this past week. The awards were presented during events surrounding the visit to Chicago of one of the few remaining original printings of the Declaration of Independence, sponsored by the Pearson Foundation.

At an event to commemorate the Declaration's visit at Curie Metropolitan High School, keynoted by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Pearson's Vice President for the Midwest and Northeast Pat McHugh presented 30 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers with the award. CPS chief academic officers, principals and social studies supervisors also celebrated the honorees for their talent in bringing social studies to life for their K-12 students.

McHugh said, "The Chicago visit of this rare original print of the Declaration of Independence offered our community a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see history first- and reflect on what it means to us as a country and as individuals. As Senator Durbin, the other presenters and the Curie High School students who spoke at the ceremony noted in their remarks, this important document developed by 56 brave men forms the foundation of how we live our lives today. As a member of the Pearson family for many years now, it makes me particularly proud that we were able to bring the tour to my hometown."

He continued, "Pearson is honored to have the opportunity to recognize these great teachers for all they do to make social studies relevant for today's students. In classrooms throughout Chicagoland, these role models show their students that social studies is more than memorizing dates or locations on a map. It is developing an understanding of experiences and how they shape the world around us, and building knowledge that will set them on a course to be effective leaders and citizens themselves."

In addition to a special certificate recognizing their achievements, the Independence Award winners will receive a $250 gift certificate for Pearson's renowned social studies materials for their classrooms. They can choose from among a wide variety of resources that will bring our nation's past, present and future to life for students, such as "America: History of Our Nation" and "Prentice Hall United States History." Names and photos of the Independence Award winners will be featured on the Pearson Illinois Web site at .

The CPS teachers honored are Caroline Ansani, Thurgood Marshall Middle School; Beth Behrens, Curie Metropolitan High School; Mark Brady, Peterson Elementary School; Maria Carney, Arthur Canty Elementary School; Cathy Coin, Prussing Elementary School; Peter DeLaurentis, Murphy Elementary School; Juanita Douglas Thurman, Lincoln Park High School; John Dudley, Collins High School; Paul Enwia, Volta Elementary School; Adam Geisler, Bateman Elementary School; Jay Hartman, Kennedy High School; Ray Kinzie, Hitch Elementary School; Kimberly Klepitsch, Ebinger Elementary School; German Lopez, John Dore Elementary School; Keith Mahone, Morrill Elementary School; Makeesha McLaurin, Morrill Elementary School; Corene Mulvihill, John Dore Elementary School; Jill O'Shea, John Dore Elementary School; Brad Parker, Locke Elementary School; Joshua Parker, Curie Metropolitan High School; Beth Pfeiffer, Alcott High School; Angelina Rider, John Dore Elementary School; Cheryl Sirabian, Phoenix Military Academy; Sean Stange, Phoenix Military Academy; Maxine Thompson, Prussing Elementary School; Geraldine Trotter, Gresham Elementary School; Sofia Villfuerte, Curie Metropolitan High School; Patrick West, Bateman Elementary School; Sharon Winters, Vanderpoel Elementary School; and Jerome Zaremba, Ellington Elementary School.

Suburban teachers were honored with a rare chance to view the Declaration of Independence in Oakbrook, where 12 were named Pearson Independence Award winners. Selected by leaders in their schools and districts for the honor are Melissa Aubuchon, Indian Trail Middle School, Plainfield; Elaine Daschler, St. James the Apostle School, Glen Ellyn; Tatiana Fenolio, Liberty School, Orland Park; Cheryl Fink, Liberty School, Orland Park; Tom Finnegan, Lincoln Way Central High School, New Lenox; Angela Fisher, The Wheatlands, Oswego; Caryn Hallman, Century Junior High, Orland Park; Patricia Howard-Schenider, Proviso East High School, Maywood; Audrey Krueger, St. James the Apostle School, Glen Ellyn; Jessie Miller, Lincoln Way Central High School, New Lenox; Jim Schaudt, Glenside Middle School, Glendale Heights; and Christa Sorenson, Unity Junior High, Cicero.

Editor's Note: Individual photos of the award winners are available.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to

For more information, press only:
Kate Miller, Pearson, 800-745-8489
Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-227-1049


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