The best of Illinois K-12 education helped lead the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade Thursday. Josh Stumpenhorst of Naperville and Annice Brave of Alton are the 2012 and 2011 Teachers of the Year, respectively, and grand marshals of the traditional night-before-the-fair event in Springfield.

Stumpenhorst is an English and history teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville. The raging hormones and general wackiness of the junior-high set does not bother him: “I just treat them as people, and I treat them the way I would want somebody to treat my own kids.”


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Brave is an English and journalism teacher at Alton High School and shares the credit: “At least half of the people in my building my school could have been named Teacher of the Year, because my school is that awesome. But it’s an incredible honor, and I’ve just been thrilled all year to represent other teachers.”


The fair opens today and closes Aug. 19.


(Copyright WBGZ /