SPRINGFIELD – An Alton pre-k teacher Amber Sims is a 2023 Illinois Education Association (IEA) RA winner.

The state’s largest union, the Illinois Education Association (IEA), today honored those with an outstanding commitment to their schools, their students, their communities, and to public education. The awards were presented during the IEA Representative Assembly (RA). The RA is the legislative body of the IEA and helps the union set its agenda for the year.

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There are 1,200 IEA delegates, guests, and state dignitaries who attend the RA. The IEA award recipients were nominated and chosen for their awards by their peers.

This was the nomination for Sims:

Bob Haisman Teacher of the Year Award – Amber Sims (Alton)

"Prior to becoming a pre-k teacher, Amber Sims was a paraprofessional in a classroom for students with autism. Amber enhances the image of a 'new teacher' by showing us that the title is not solely reserved for 22-year-olds. Anyone can become a new educator at any point in life — and having new educators with varying backgrounds and work experiences can only bring value to the classroom.

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Amber Sims

"Amber joined the IEA Virtual Coaching and Mentoring Program as a mentee and continues to participate in this program today. This year, she joined the IEA Early Career Committee and encouraged fellow local members to join her at the 2022 Fall Aspiring Educator and Early Career Conference.

"As the Early Career Region Representative for Region 6, she always looks for opportunities to grow. She attended the Ethnic Minority and Emerging Leadership Training (EMELT) last fall to enhance her knowledge about the association, and this year, she is proud to attend the 2023 IEA RA as a first-time delegate.

"Amber is a role model to other Early Career Educators, showing them you can be involved in the association, even as a nontenured teacher. She advocates for educators in the southern part of the state and brings new perspectives and ideas to any meeting that she attends.

"The IEA is stronger because of her work to recruit other Early Career Educators in her area and help them get involved. Amber is a fearless advocate for public education and for our union."

About Illinois Education Association

The 135,000-member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents Pre-K to12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees, and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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