Tollway Tormoil Continues

The woman appointed by Governor JB Pritzker as a “reformer” is leaving after only eleven months, according to the this press release:

Dorothy Abreu to Step Down as Tollway Chair

CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker accepted the resignation of Tollway Chair Dorothy Abreu, as she leaves to focus on her health challenges.

“I appreciate Dorothy’s service and dedication to both the Tollway and the people of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Her work has undoubtedly improved our infrastructure and she is leaving the Tollway in a strong financial and operational position. I wish Dorothy and her family well.”

“The past eleven months leading the Illinois Tollway have been a tremendous journey for me,” Dorothy Abreu, Director, and Chair of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. “As I promised on day one, I have conducted my affairs with integrity and strived to provide transparency with all stakeholders. I am grateful for the opportunity to have helped oversee the Tollway and the more than 1,200 dedicated employees that make it great.”

Vice Chairman Jim Connolly will assume the responsibilities of the board chair until the Governor names a new permanent chair.

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The Daily Herald reports her resignation is because of “health issues.”

My memories of the Tollway go back to Governor Jim Thompson’s days.

He appointed one of the State Policemen who had provided security during his 1976 campaign.

The guy was a reformer, a real reformer.

He told me he was eliminating unnecessary employees.

In about a year, he was replaced by Thompson’s campaign finance guy.

One can only assume the Tollway was a good source of campaign contributions.

I have no reason to think Pritzker would use the Tollway for similar purposes, but there was serious conflilct, as a Chicago Tribune editorial pointed on on March 31, 2022:

Part of the editorial:

After taking office in 2019, he [Pritzker] appointed former Peoples Gas President Will Evans as the Tollway’s board chairman and backed former Chicago Housing Authority chief operating officer Jose Alvarez as the agency’s executive director. “It’s a new day for the Illinois Tollway,” Pritzker said after appointing Evans. “I’m proud to usher in a new wave of transparency and accountability at this critical agency.”

New wave of transparency and accountability? Far from it.

Evans embarked on a power grab in which he commandeered authority over the agency’s day-to-day operations as well as billions of dollars in contracts. That left Alvarez’s authority significantly weakened. Evans also voted on a hefty Tollway contract involving an engineering firm where he once worked, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Meanwhile, Alvarez made sure nine of his former CHA colleagues got well-paying jobs at the agency amounting to an overall tab of $1.3 million, the Daily Herald reported Wednesday.

Both men got their jobs after receiving strong endorsements from former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker, according to the Sun-Times. As it turns out, Hooker had his own baggage. In the fall of 2020, he joined the list of people under indictment for their alleged role in the ComEd bribery scheme that ultimately led to charges against former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Evans stepped down in February, and Alvarez did the same last week.

And, who could forget what Governor Rod Blagojevich did

An April 27, 2008, Tribune story reported,

Among the many first-time $25,000 donors was a Chicago architectural firm that designed the newly revamped oases on the Illinois Tollway.

The sign Governor Rod Blagojeich had erected over Illinois toll booths.

John Clark, a principal with Cordogan, Clark & Associates, said that the lead agency on the project, the California firm Wilton Partners, suggested Cordogan, Clark also donate to Blagojevich. Wilton itself donated $50,000 to the governor’s campaign fund on the same day. He said Wilton’s leaders asked the firm to make the donation as a way to call attention to the oases project, which at the time was moving slowly.

“Giving puts an exclamation point next to your name,” Clark said.

After the donation was made, Clark said, the project started to go more smoothly. But he said he wasn’t sure that was a direct result of the donation or whether “people were finally getting up to speed.”

He said he didn’t see the donation as a favor and believes the state was merely living up to the terms of its original agreement signed under the Ryan administration, in which Wilton has spent more than $80 million to renovate the oases and is paid by vendors renting space there.

Pre-Election Vote on Superintendent’s Contract Scheduled by Crystal Lake High School Board

A special meeting on February 1st at 7 is when the salary and other compensation of District 155’s Superintendent of Schools will be set.

The public will be allowed to address Board members prior to the vote, which obviously is a foregone conclusion.

= = = = =

I asked for the agenda packet and this was the prompt reply:

“There is no board packet for the special meeting, if there are materials/communications to be sent following the meeting, I will be sure to send those to you if there is action.”

I find it hard to comprehend how a new contact can be approved without some paper/text.

Thinking about Stumbling into Nuclear War

Ok, so this is far removed from McHenry County or even Illinois politics, but Breitbart has a thoughtful interview with retired tank commander Lt. Col. Danny Davis.

He warns that the Biden Administration has no plan in the Ukraine.

Just sending tanks for which no Ukrainian soldier is trained to use will not change anything militarily on the ground.

It’s not like “…getting this capacity on your video game and poof, you’ve got the full capacity as though you were fully trained, but it just doesn’t work that way in reality…”

Davis points out that tanks are used offensively, but he can find few instances in which the over 1.000 tanks the Ukrainians already have were used in an offense or in a tank-on-tank fight.

But what is occurring in the Ukraine is nothing like a video game.

“…just having NATO tanks does not equal battlefield success…roughly 90 percent of the success is the people who operate the equipment…”

Davis finds on Bloomberg that the Ukraine already had 1,000 tanks, plus 410 donated Soviet-era tanks.

He asks, ““just what an Abrams or Leopard tank is going to do differently than the T72s, the T80s or the T64s that they have right now?” 

The article continues,

The former Lt. Col. admitted that “if providing all this equipment we have in the last eight days combined with what’s apparently coming from these other dozen European nations, had a legitimate shot at ending the war and winning it for Ukraine without sparking a nuclear retaliation from Russia, then I’d be willing to say it is worthy.”

However, he explained, “there’s none of that.” 

“All you’re doing is making Russia want to go to war,” he warned. “Far from wanting to deter Russia or making them hesitate and count the costs – it’s having the exact opposite effect across the board in Russia.”

“If anything, it makes them want to be more aggressive,” he added. “It makes them absolutely think we cannot lose this and double down on their efforts.” 

He added copncerning the Russian people that “it’s a very valid position to say all of NATO is against them.”

Davis pointed out,

“We’re doing everything except physically pulling the trigger.. 

“We’re providing intelligence. We’re providing ammunition. We’re providing weapons systems [and] repair facilities, literally everything but the pull of the trigger.

He then suggested considering another country doing the same to the United States:

“Imagine during the war with Afghanistan that Russia or China had just completely got behind the Taliban, gave them everything they had, including all their modern gear to kill American soldiers.

“Do you think we would have accepted that?”

Then Davis asked, ““We think that, like Biden said hiding behind a fig leaf today, when he announced this change, that ‘we are not going to war with Russia’ and ‘we’re not a direct participant,’ as though just saying those words means anything to Russia.”

The retired tank man suggested that Russia would look at actions, rather than words.

Davis complains that our country has no plan, no strategy, no way to determine if we are succeeding or not.

“We’re just giving all this stuff, nobody’s talking about, not even ethereal kinds of overarching statements. What is this supposed to accomplish? What is the outcome you see by giving [these tanks]? What are you trying to produce on the ground? How is this going to benefit the United States of America as opposed to not doing it? What are the pros and cons?

Davis asks what is the “American national security interest here we’re trying to protect is?” 

“Not a general statement, but an actual physical, detailed answer: ‘Here’s what we want to accomplish; here’s what we consider success; here’s the objectives we want to accomplish.’ That should be a bare minimum, and it’s not even on the table.”

He explains this is not like fighting in counties like Syria, Yemen or Libya.

They didn’t have nuclear weapons.

And what will the Russian reaction be to providing the tanks?

“I fear that one day, Russia’s going to say, ‘OK, you finally did cross a red line this time and we’re going to take action,’” he said. 

The article continues,

“[Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov recently said that based on all this stuff about the tanks, they reserve the right to attack any provider of NATO gear, NATO tanks, NATO vehicles, their ammunition – no matter where they are, meaning Poland or in some other NATO country.” 

“So they’re now saying that they may attack those things that are directly for war, that are there against their forces wherever they are,” he added.

Davis also warned that Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, which dictates that member states consent that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,” could lead to an explosion: 

There is zero chance – and I mean zero – not point anything, that Russia could ever militarily defeat NATO in a conventional sense. It’s a physical impossibility. They’re just struggling even now to defeat Ukrainians in part of the Donbas, their next-door neighbor, so they certainly couldn’t take on a 30 member NATO military alliance; they know that. 

“So the only way they can defend against NATO, is through nuclear weapons, of course,” he explained.

“So if we try to think we’re going to trigger Article 5 and not trigger nuclear war. I mean, we’re just insane and fooling ourselves.”

And while, he claimed, the information he relayed is “just common sense and logic, if you just played stuff through,” Davis argued that “we don’t like to play with reality.” 

“We like to play with words,” he said. “In fact, we just create our own reality, whatever we prefer.”

57-Year OId Island Lake/Woodstock Man Gets 126 Years for Child Sex Charges, Must Serve 85%

From the State’s Attorney:


Robert Gould

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Robert J. Gould, 57, formerly of Island Lake and Woodstock, Illinois, was sentenced on January 27, 2023, to 126 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by the Honorable Judge Michael Coppedge after being found guilty of multiple counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, Criminal Sexual Assault, and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse at a jury trial.

Defendant must serve 122 years of his sentence at 85%.

This case was investigated by Detective Constable Jennifer Lake of the Halifax Regional Police in Canada and Sergeant Michelle Asplund of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Sharyl Eisenstein and Tyler Mikan of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Chance to Comment on Proposed ComEd Rate Hike

The Illnois Commerce Commission offers citizens the opportunity to weigh in on Commonweath Edison’s request to raise electric rates.

Here is the link.

Commonwealth Edison has a monopoly in Northern Illinois to deliver electricty.

Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t part of the mandate given along with such a monopoly the ability to deliver the product to each customer?

This high power line on Crystal Lake’s Main Street next to Best Buy failed. Electric rates were not raised to pay to fix this part of ComEd’s grid.

Maybe things have changed since I majored in economics, but I don’t think so.

There has to be a workable grid to deliver the product.

If ComEd has neglected to maintain its electric grid and instead used earnings to pay dividends, I don’t see that it is my responsibility to fill in the gap.

Trespasser Arrested in Harvard

From the Harvard Police Department:


On 01-22-23 at 1704 hrs, Police responded to the 5 blk N Lincoln St regarding an unwanted subject on the property.

Upon arrival and after a thorough investigation Austin A Gehrke (m-30 yoa), 4221 W Parkway Ave, McHenry was arrested for Trespass to Real Property and was also charged with Resisting Arrest after pulling away from officers when he was being taken into custody.

Gehrke was transported to the McHenry County Jail in lieu of bond.

UPDATE with SPECIFICS: With Chicago Mayoral Candidate Proposing Taxing Suburbanites, Will Next Move Be to Impose Chicago Income Tax?

Illinois Policy reports on Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson’s proposal to gain more tax revenue from the suburbs.

Chicago Teachers Union lobbyist and mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson unveiled his ‘tax-the-rich’ revenue plan, including $800 million in new taxes on suburbanites and those who come to the city to work or play.

The State Constitution says,

Article VII. Local Government. Sec. 6. Powers of Home Rule Units. (e)

A home rule unit shall have only the power that the
General Assembly may provide by law (1) to punish by
imprisonment for more than six months or (2) to license for
revenue or impose taxes upon or measured by income or
earnings or upon occupations.

Except for the fact that Democrats control many of the legislative districts where Chicago commuters live, the extraordinary majority that party holds might tempt some effort.

= = = = =

From Center for Illinois Politics:

The new taxes include:

  • A surcharge on Metra fares paid by suburbanites that would bring in $40 million a year, because “the suburban tax base utilizes Chicago’s infrastructure to earn their disproportionately higher income, yet their taxes fund already wealthy towns”
  • A $98 million a year tax on jet fuel used at Chicago’s airports, “making the big airlines pay for polluting Chicago’s air”
  • A “mansion tax” that would raise $100 million a year, presumably by increasing the transfer tax on homes and condos that sell for $1 million or more
  • Restoration of the $4 a month employee “head tax” eliminated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on “large companies” that perform at least half their work in Chicago
  • Hiking Chicago’s highest-in-the-nation hotel tax even more to produce $30 million
  • Taxing financial transactions “less than 0.002 percent of a trade’s value” that would generate $100 million

McHenry Garage Fire Saturday Afternoon

From the McHenry Township Fire Protection District:

1600 block of N. Park Street in McHenry.

On Saturday, January 28, 2023, at 1:02 pm, the McHenry Township Fire Protection District (MTFPD) was dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 1600 block of N. Park Street in McHenry. MTFPD crews arrived within four minutes to find a two-story residence with heavy smoke coming from the attached garage.

All occupants had exited the structure prior to our arrival. MTFPD crews performed a fire attack while
simultaneously searching the residence, and the fire was under control within 15 minutes.

A box alarm was activated through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) for change of quarters companies.

The fire was contained to the garage.

One resident was evaluated for smoke inhalation but was not transported.

There were no firefighter injuries.

The fire is currently under investigation, and a damage estimate is not available at this time.

MTFPD received assistance from Crystal Lake, Nunda, Cary, Round Lake, Lake Villa, and Huntley fire departments. The Red Cross was requested to assist the residents as the house was uninhabitable.

UPDATE: McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio Encourages People to Run Write-In Campaigns

UPDATE: For some reason the office of Mayor of Crystal Lake is not on the list below.

From the McHenry County Clerk:

County Clerk Encourages People to File as Write-In Candidates to Fill Open Seats

WOODSTOCK, Ill. –  If you’ve ever wanted to get involved in local government, there are races on the April 4 election ballot that can be won, in the words of County Clerk and Recorder Joe Tirio, “for the price of a piece of paper and a drive to Woodstock.”

“We have more than 20 offices with fewer candidates than open seats.

“That means you can likely have the seat by just running as a write-in,” Tirio said.

To run as a write-in, a candidate must be qualified for the seat and must file a declaration to run as a write-in at the County Clerk’s office by Thursday, Feb. 2.

The declaration can be found on the “elections” section of the candidate page on the County Clerk’s website at

“Once you’ve filed the declaration, you just need to contact friends, family, and neighbors to write your name in on the ballot on April 4,”, Tirio said.

“If the specter of gathering signatures, knocking on doors and raising funds has kept you from running for office, the bar has been significantly lowered.”

Write-in candidates must meet residency requirements for the seat for which they are running; some races further narrow residency for the vacant seat to a particular part of their jurisdiction. If (when) you win, within five days of the official canvass of votes, you will need to fill out a Statement of Candidacy, provide a receipt for filing your Statement of Economic Interests, and, if you want, sign the optional Loyalty Oath.

Here’s the list of races with fewer candidates than open seats:

  • Village of Fox River Grove, Trustee
  • Village of Greenwood, Trustee
  • Village of Lakewood, Trustee
  • Village of Oakwood Hills, Trustee
  • Village of Prairie Grove, Trustee
  • Village of Union, Trustee
  • Algonquin Public Library District, Trustee
  • Fox Lake Public Library District, Trustee
  • McHenry Public Library, Trustee
  • McHenry Public Library, Trustee (2-year term)
  • Nippersink Public Library District, Trustee
  • River East Public Library District, Trustee
  • Marengo Community High School District #154, Board Member
  • Richmond-Burton High School District #157, Board Member (2-year term)
  • Fox River Grove Grade School District #3, Board Member (2-year term)
  • McHenry County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee
  • McHenry County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee (4-year term)
  • Lake County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee
  • Kane County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee (2-year term)
  • Boone/Winnebago County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee
  • Boone/Winnebago County Regional Board of Schools, Trustee (4-year term)

Nothing in this message should be considered legal advice as neither I, nor my staff can provide legal advice.

Tirio also seeks election judges:

Norge Makes Tribune’s Front Page

What is unique about McHenry County?

That’s the question that entered my mind when I was trying to figure out what to put on the masthead of McHenry County Blog.

We have beautiful lakes, one of which I love driving by on the way home from either direction.

Sunset over Crystal Lake on July 2, 2017.

But lakes are not unique.

We have the Fox River.

A boat running flat out on the Fox River.

But lots of places have rivers.

Preparing for planting.

We have farms, but they are not unique.

This graceful lady is called “Queen of the Prairie.”

Shots of prairies or woods could have been used, but, again, nothing unique there.

Stickney Woods in McHenry. Photo credit Mackenzie Walter.

Then, it occurred to me that McHenry County is the only place in Illinois with a ski jump.

Today, the Chicago Tribune featured the snow-covered Norge ski hill on its front page.

This weekend was supposed to be the annual ski jump tournament, but it was postponed until mid-February because of too warm weather to produce snow.

The Norge Ski Tournament has been postponed until February 11th and 12th.

And, there is one other aspect of the ski jump that might be relevant to McHenry County Blog,

We sometimes leap on stories other local media ignore.

State GOP Chairman Don Tracy Defends Vote to Re-Elect Incumbent National Leader

From Illinois State Republican Chairman Don Tracy:


The RNC Winter Meeting just concluded in Southern California. The final and most important agenda matter was the election of the RNC Chair.

There were three candidates for the position – incumbent Ronna McDaniel, election attorney Harmeet Dhillion and My Pillow founder, Mike Lindell. Ronna was elected by a vote of 111 for her, 51 for Harmeet, and 4 for Mike.

During the campaign of almost three months, I received many emails from good Republicans, many of whom were from Illinois. Because so many of these emails advocated a vote for Dhillion, Lindell or anybody but Ronna, some good Republicans will be disappointed by my vote for Ronna. I will now explain that vote, first in summary and then in more detail.

As the razor-close presidential elections of 2016 and 2020 indicate, the national electorate is pretty much voting 50% for a Democrat candidate and 50% for a Republican candidate. The Obama-Romney election of 2012 was also close and would have been even closer, I believe, but for two hurricanes which hit Florida and New Jersey-New York at critical junctures in the campaign. With a 50-50 national electorate, taking back the US House should be a cause for celebration not angst. However, we lost the formerly tied US Senate by losing one seat and took back the US House by a smaller margin than hoped for, and the high expectations for a big red national wave did not materialize.

Unfortunately, rather than lead a reasoned and dispassionate analysis of (a) whether the red wave expectations were realistic in the face of a determined and extremely well-financed opponent and the re-emergence of abortion as a major issue; (b) why we did not win the Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada and Arizona seats; and (c) what we need to do different to win in 2024, some political commentators have promoted an opportunistic blame game on a Republican infrastructure leader who did not select any of the 2022 Republican House or Senate candidates or fund any of their campaigns and whose job was not to do any of those things.

I call Ronna an infrastructure leader because that is what the RNC is, a political infrastructure support system. By next week, I will have served as Illinois State Chairman for two years. During that time, I have had an inside view of the great work Ronna has done on national Republican infrastructure and how much it has improved under her watch.

The Republican National Committee is a confederation of the state and territorial Republican parties. The RNC provides support services to state parties – such as data services – assists state parties with training, field staff and fundraising, oversees the Presidential nominating process and organizes a quadrennial national convention for the party to confirm the nomination of our candidate for President. It is composed of 168 members — three from each state and territory, the chairman of the state/territory party and a Committeeman and Committeewoman. Demetra Demonte, Richard Porter and I are the Illinois members of the RNC. The RNC does not select any candidates for any office and does not run any campaigns. The RNC instead provides organizational support services of parties and candidates. 

For nearly 40 years, the RNC was barred from engaging in any election integrity activities by a consent decree. Ronna led the effort to have the consent decree lifted a few years ago, and the RNC has now made election integrity a major focus of the organization. 

Ronna entered the job with an already exemplary resume that she has built upon. She has had the experience of running a state party and of course running the RNC. Her creative and determined leadership of the Michigan party is a reason Donald Trump won in 2016, and she has set records for fundraising and support of state parties as RNC chairman. There is a meme out there that she’s responsible for candidates that fell short in AZ and GA, but that’s not true – and reflects a misunderstanding of the RNC’s role. 

Under Ronna’s leadership, the RNC has been very supportive of the Illinois party. They provided resources that allowed us to fight voter integrity issues in Champaign, Kane, Madison and other counties, and provided us access to the ZenDesk reporting system which allowed us to more efficiently track election issues and irregularities across the state during early voting and on election day. The RNC has consistently provided field data and support through the Advantage mobile app and GOP Datacenter.

The RNC’s State Party Strategies staff provided support through the GROW Program. The ILGOP received $50k in transfers for passing the final level of the GROW program as well as $10k in digital ads to support the growth of our digital fundraising program, email exchanges to support growth of digital fundraising program, and some polling.

I have also had the opportunity to meet Harmeet Dhillon, who I believe to be a very smart, capable, articulate and strong leader – as well as a tremendous asset for our party. Both of these women are impressive and a credit to the Republican Party. If Harmeet had been elected RNC Chair, she would have had my total support, as we work to grow the Republican Party in Illinois and defeat Joe Biden in 2024. 

However, Harmeet does not have any equivalent experience running an organization that’s close to the size and scope of the RNC. Further, Harmeet alleged that the RNC is a hotbed of corruption being bled by consultants and scammers — that the RNC is actually the reason we are losing races we hope to win. If that were true, then maybe something as drastic as a total, from zero, restart of the RNC might make some sense. We absolutely must root out any corruption at the RNC, but so far, none of the claims of wrongdoing have panned out.

I believe every organization needs to continually improve, and while I think the RNC has done a very good job on Ronna’s watch, I am also certain that it can do better. I am also certain that this race for RNC Chair will make Ronna an even better Chair. Competition is good. As a consequence perhaps, Ronna has plans for making the team leaner and more effective. For that I thank Harmeet for running.

The bottom line is that Ronna McDaniel has done an excellent job in every element of what an RNC Chairman is supposed to do in an environment that has been uniquely challenging. She’s a proven grass-roots leader with a solid plan for the next two years. 

Thank you for reading this and hopefully understanding that I believe my vote for Ronna was the right thing to do for our party.

Bears Tax Subsidy Scheme Attacked

From The Center Square:

New tax plan for Chicago Bears stadium draws the ire from grassroots organization

(The Center Square) – A tax subsidy plan for a new Chicago Bears stadium complex is being criticized by an Illinois grassroots organization. 

The team bought the old Arlington Racecourse property and unveiled plans for a new domed stadium and entertainment district.

According to a report, a measure would create a new type of tax subsidy called payment in lieu of taxes, or PILT.

The property tax in a PILT district would be frozen for 20 years and part of the revenue from the developments would offset costs for the developers.

PILTs differ from tax-increment financing, since the tax amount can be negotiated.

Brain Costin, Illinois deputy state director for Americans for Prosperity, said the Bears are trying to use their power to protect billionaires and big businesses and not hardworking Illinois taxpayers. 

“It’s not good economics because you have government getting into the business of picking winners and losers and a lot of times they pick wrong,” said Costin to The Center Square.

“It’s bad politically, it’s bad economically, it’s just plain bad for the state of Illinois.”

Several organizations reportedly are supportive of the idea, including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

In an open letter, the Bears said a stadium project would create 48,000 jobs and have a $9.4 billion economic impact to the region, with the potential to attract year-round events including the Super Bowl and the college basketball Final Four.

“While the Bears will seek no public funding for direct stadium structure construction, given the broad, long-term public benefits of this project, we look forward to partnering with the various governmental bodies to secure additional funding and assistance needed to support the feasibility of the remainder of the development,” the letter said.

Costin said it is dangerous to set up a new program in which lobbyists and politicians can negotiate special property tax reductions for billionaire mega developers.

“The [payment in lieu of taxes] proposal will result in higher property taxes for the small business owners and residents who don’t have access to the special program,” said Costin.

“All businesses in Illinois should be treated equally before the law.”

Hartman Seeks Nominations for Educator of the Year

From Regional Superintendent of Schools Diane Hartman:

Nominations Open for Educator of the Year Awards

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – The McHenry County Regional Office of Education is seeking nominations from county school districts for its annual Educator of the Year Awards.

The annual awards, granted in partnership with the Community Foundation for McHenry County, recognize McHenry County’s top teachers, administrators and support staff, Regional Superintendent Diana Hartmann said.

“This is our opportunity to recognize and celebrate the outstanding educators in McHenry County schools. Please join us in highlighting these deserving individuals,” Hartmann said.

The contest is open to all schools in Educational Service Region 44, which covers most of McHenry County except School Districts 300, 220 and 118.

Nominations can be made in nine categories: preschool teacher, elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher, administrator, student support personnel, early career teacher, private/parochial school employee, and educational support personnel.

Teachers must have a minimum five years of experience and spend more than half their time in instruction – the early-career teacher award recognizes teachers in their second to fifth year of service.

The deadline to submit nomination forms and the needed documentation to the ROE is Saturday, April 1; the nomination packet and form can be found on the ROE’s webpage.

Nominees and winners will be honored at the Educator of the Year Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at Hickory Hall, 406 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake. Tickets will be available soon through a link on the ROE’s webpage.