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Springfield High's Jeff Lightfoot named 2015 Educator of the Year, Butler’s Tracy Gage named Admin of the Year

May 11, 2015

Jeff Lightfoot, a teacher at Springfield High School, has been named the Horace Mann Educator of the Year. Also, Tracy Gage, principal of Butler Elementary School, was named Horace Mann’s Administrator of the Year. Both recipients were recognized at a May 11 luncheon sponsored by Springfield Public Schools and Horace Mann Educators Corporation (NYSE: HMN).

Lightfoot teaches U.S. history and serves as social studies department chair. He has been at Springfield High School since 1999. He is applauded for his creativity in engaging students in the classroom.

Springfield Schools Superintendent Jennifer Gill and Horace Mann President and CEO Marita Zuraitis presented Lightfoot with a crystal owl and a $1,000 cash prize.

Tracy Gage, Butler Elementary School Principal, has been in District 186 since 1995. Gage began as a teacher at Hay-Edwards Elementary and was principal at Laketown Elementary before coming to Butler in 2007. She is known for her caring manner with students and creating a family environment at Butler.

Gage was presented with $500 and a plaque.

“It is an honor to recognize those who serve our students with the highest level of professionalism,” Gill said. “I also want to thank Horace Mann for its commitment to Springfield Public Schools and giving us this annual tradition to celebrate excellence in District 186.”

Finalists for 2015 Educator of the Year included Kate Dabbs, Lee Elementary; Kathy Fetter, Marsh Elementary; Nikki Moore, Dubois Elementary; and Paula Shotwell, Iles Elementary. Each finalist received a crystal apple award and $250.

Administrator of the Year finalists were Kari Borders, principal of Douglas School; and Renee Colwell-Roy, principal of Laketown Elementary School. Borders and Colwell-Roy each received $250.

The Rising Star award was given to four promising teachers who have been with the district four years or less. The 2015 Rising Star recipients are: Jasmine Coleman, Lanphier High School; Adrienne Crawford, McClernand Elementary; Jenny Nolting, Dubois Elementary; and Nichole Poss, Iles Elementary. The Rising Stars each received $250 and a plaque.

Horace Mann has sponsored the Educator of the Year program since its inception in 1988. An independent panel of Springfield-area community leaders selects the Educator of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and the Rising Stars.

Horace Mann ��” the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators' financial needs ��” provides auto and homeowners insurance, retirement annuities, life insurance and other financial solutions. Founded by educators for educators® in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. For more information visit www.horacemann.com.