Bob Chikos, a Crystal Lake Central special education teacher, was one of 27 teachers in the state, selected to be part of the 2019-20 Illinois Teaching Policy Fellowship. Fellows are expected to serve for a 10-month period from August 2019 until June 2020. The group is made up of only teachers, spanning from grades K-12, who will provide legislators with a teacher’s perspective when developing education policies.
“I believe that in order to empower our students to maximize their potential, teachers must be on the front lines of advocacy,” Chikos said in a press release. “I know that it will take research, collaboration, and open minds to determine how to make the changes our students need, and I am excited to develop these skills and to support others in this work.”
Each fellow was chosen based on his or her strong commitment to the classroom and their ability to articulate the needs of their students
Shannon Levitt, a Crystal Lake Central teacher, nominated Chikos and Chikos then completed a rigorous application and interviewing process. The cohort met for the first time in Springfield on Aug. 17-18.
“They gave us a list of different initiatives to be involved in and, I actually got my first choice, which was social-emotional learning. It’s really something that the district has taken a proactive approach on and I have attended several pieces of training at Central over the past couple of years. I hope we can make some positive change statewide,” Chikos said.
Chikos will meet with his social-emotional learning initiative group once a month and the entire cohort will meet in-person a few times throughout the year in Springfield and Bloomington.
“I will be in contact during the entire process. I am definitely going to get input from the staff at Central and I will take what I learn and bring it back here to the district too,” Chikos said.
Chikos is the second Crystal Lake Central teacher to be a part of the prestigious fellowship. His nominator, Shannon Levitt, was a fellow during the 2017-18 school year.