Evanston Township High School District 202 was well represented last weekend when four staff members were recognized at the 37th annual Those Who Excel Awards sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). This year’s program honored nearly 200 people who have made outstanding contributions to education.  

ETHS Director of Human Resources Toya Campbell received the State Board’s highest honor, the Award of Excellence, and the distinguished Merit Awards were given to teachers Cynthia Curtis and Steven Speight as well as to Latino/Minority Languages Liaison Coordinator M. Arantza Jauregi.

ETHS Director of Human Resources Toya Campbell received the Those Who Excel Award of Excellence.  

During her eight-year tenure, Campbell focused her leadership and vision on strengthening ETHS by improving the performance of and support for the adults in the district. In working with six union groups as well as her own unified HR team, Campbell has helped develop a school culture that commands fairness, inclusion and equity. Campbell was instrumental in establishing and implementing the school’s current hiring practices, developing evaluation instruments, and developing the online application process. Her labor relations and collective bargaining expertise are critical to the trust and excellent working relationships that further the mission of District 202.

ETHS pre-engineering/technology teacher Cynthia Curtis received a Those Who Excel Award in the category of Early Career Educator. 

Curtis is a pre-engineering/technology education teacher who has developed engaging, up-to-date instructional materials and activities in ETHS courses and extracurricular programs. For the past five years, Curtis has steadily attracted more students, especially girls, to technical courses and engineering-related fields while also showing increased student achievement. Curtis has been instrumental in the development and success of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a national pre-engineering curriculum adopted by ETHS. Curtis is a proven leader both in the school and in her field, sharing expertise and demonstrating high proficiency in technology.

ETHS Latino/Minority Languages Liaison M. Arantza Juaregi received a Those Who Excel Award of Merit in the category of Educational Service Personnel. 

Jauregi, Latino/Minority Languages Liaison Coordinator at ETHS, is more than an advocate for the school’s students and families; she is a trained psychologist and clinical therapist who spends many hours working with the school’s counselors, deans, teachers, and support staff to provide vital assistance. As the district’s Latino population has steadily grown, Jauregi has filled a void by providing Spanish-language translation and interpreting services, enabling ETHS to expand the scope of publications and increase outreach and services to Latino families. Jauregi’s involvement in staff discussions about race and equity has been an integral part of the goals of District 202. She also helps showcase Latino history and culture at ETHS by annually coordinating the month-long Latino Heritage Festival. 

ETHS chemistry teacher Steven Speight received a Those Who Excel Award of Merit in the category of Classroom Teacher. 

Speight has been a science teacher at ETHS since the 2002-03 school year and was quickly recognized by the Evanston community as an inspiring teacher. Motivated by the desire to provide meaningful help to his students, Speight became the force behind the ETHS System of Supports program. He convened and chaired a broad-based committee that ultimately developed a comprehensive program designed to help all students at all levels, making a truly significant improvement in ETHS’s overall student achievement. While Speight is a leader in the development, refinement, and use of technology, he found his passion in teaching and continuously motivates students to love science as he does. He prides himself on taking the time to learn about his students, their aspirations, and the way they see chemistry to better facilitate their learning in class.