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Two District #7 Educators Named Among ISBE's Those Who Excel Award Winners

those who excel winners - Melissa Edwards and Gretchen Hertz

Every year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) honors educators across the state, and this year, two District #7 educators are among the recipients for 2024.  

The awards program is divided into two categories – the “Illinois Teacher of the Year” cohort and the “Those Who Excel” awards.  

Within “Those Who Excel” are three different awards, including the Award of Excellence, the Award of Special Recognition, and the Award of Meritorious Service.  

Congratulations to Nelson Elementary Principal Melissa Edwards, who received Special Recognition, and Elementary Technology Teacher Gretchen Hertz, who received Meritorious Service. 

“We are immensely proud that these two exceptional educators have been recognized for their outstanding contributions,” said Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton. “Their dedication to excellence in education is an inspiration and we are fortunate to have such talented individuals in our district.”  

The annual Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awards celebrate incredible classroom teachers, administrators, teams, volunteers, and school support personnel who have made lasting impacts on the students, families, and fellow educators in their school communities. Find more information on the application process and awards in ISBE’s Overview of Awards. ISBE will celebrate the awardees at a banquet on May 18. 


  • Nelson
  • Woodland
  • Worden