Check out our latest High School Educator of the Year Award nominees below, and make sure to stay tuned for the chance to vote on who you think should be named High School Educator of the Year Presented by Robert Morris University Illinois in April!

Ronette Barnes-Lusby

October Nominee for High School Educator of the Year Presented by Robert Morris University, Illinois

Ronette is a multidisciplinary special education teacher with District #227 teaching at Rich East High School. She has been a special education teacher for 12 years and has been nominated for a Golden Apple Award as a teacher leader. Through her experience and education, Ronette possesses the rare ability to design General Education curriculum to meet the unique needs of all her students so that any mind can learn. Ronette has also been the head coach of the Poms squad at Rich East High School for four and a half years. Through her leadership, she has an incredible 100% graduation rate for all of her Poms participants and has guided her team to winning 6th at sectionals in addition to being voted best team in District #227. Her work with the Poms team even caught the eye of the Park Forest Hurricanes dance team who asked her to choreograph a routine for their performance at a Chicago Sky game in 2016. Perhaps her proudest achievement though is being a mother of an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, who are both equally active in extracurricular activities. Through Ronette’s work and her commitment she has not only impacted the students around her, but also her surrounding community.


Rebecca Orr

November Nominee for High School Educator of the Year Presented by Robert Morris University, Illinois

For the past four years, Rebecca Orr has taught Media and English to the diverse student body at DePaul College Prep. In addition to teaching she is also the head coach of speech and debate where she even leads the annual service-learning trip for students. This past year, Rebecca has successfully launched a student journalism program that provides students the opportunity to have a voice in their school and in their communities. Rebecca has also become a teacher leader and facilitator supporting other teachers across Chicago to develop ways to teach students news literacy, journalism, and how to evaluate fake news. Rebecca’s impact goes beyond just the local Chicagoland area too. Prior to joining DePaul College Prep, she spent a year in Singapore teaching at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic School of Film and Media studies and has even brought a group of high school students to a rural Guatemalan community to install stoves. All in all, Rebecca brings a strong sense of social justice and desire to empower students to help others within their communities. She is always willing to go the extra mile for her students and inspires others to follow her enthusiasm and excitement for student learning.