Heather Alderks, Joe Mullikin, Deb Lawson, Micki White, and the Stillman Valley High School Principal’s Student Advisory Council will all be honored as Those Who Excel Honorees at a banquet hosted by the Illinois State Board of Education in Bloomington-Normal on Oct. 22. Meridian CUSD honored each of their nominees for this state wide honor last April and received notice of their recognition this week. Meridian is exceptionally proud of the honorees and the work they do on behalf of our students and community.

The Illinois State Board of Education annually sponsors Those Who Excel to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our state’s public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Excellence, Meritorious Service and Special Recognition awards are presented in seven categories: classroom teacher, school administrator/principal, student support personnel (licensed), educational service personnel (unlicensed), school board member/community volunteer; team, and early career educator. Nomination materials are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. Awards of Excellence winners in the classroom teacher category are finalists for the Illinois Teacher of the Year. Local school district leaders and members of school communities nominate candidates.

Meridian winners were in the following categories:


  • Heather Alderks won an award of Merit for work as a classroom teacher.
    • Heather Alderks has been a Physical Education teacher at Meridian Junior High school for the past 13 years. Mrs. Alderks has been an inspiration to both students and staff. The staff benefits from Mrs. Alderks never ending motivation to improve herself as a teacher. She is driven to change the way we provide feedback to students and parents to better their needs.
  • Joe Mullikin won an award of Merit for work as an early career educator.
    • Joe Mullikin is starting his fourth year in MCUSD and already his passion, enthusiasm, and know-how have had a lasting impact on the district. Joe is not just the cool, young teacher in a bow-tie – he is also the in-house assessment and data expert. His efforts to continually improve his own practice, to serve as a mentor and guide to students, and to provide support to teachers in his areas of expertise make him very deserving of recognition through Those Who Excel.
  • Deb Lawson won an award of Excellence for work as an Instructional Aide/Interventionist.
    • Lawson is constantly looking for a way to step up and go the extra mile for our students and our school. She works unbelievably well with students and works hard to make a connection with all of the students whom she works with. Mrs. Lawson is an asset to Monroe Center.
  • The SVHS Principal’s Advisory Council won an award of Excellence for work as a Team.
    • The Stillman Valley High School Principal’s Student Advisory Council is an outstanding group of sophomore, junior, and senior representatives who serve as building advocates for their peers in an effort to improve systems, programs, and facilities. The council members are focused on school improvement goals that will have lasting, positive effects on student achievement and social and emotional wellness.
  • Micki White won an award of Excellence as a community volunteer.
    • Micki White has filled a void at Meridian Junior High. As a new parent to the Junior High during the 2014­-2015 school year, Mrs. White quickly realized that a PTO was needed to support the staff and students during a time of shrinking budgets. In two school years this newly formed PTO has raised over $27,000! Mrs. White makes this look easy while running her own home daycare and substitute teaching in the District. Under Micki White’s leadership, the Meridian Junior High PTO has made MJHS a better place for students and staff to achieve their goals and have some fun.


Meridian CUSD 223 Superintendent PJ Caposey stated, “I am continually impressed with the efforts within our district on behalf of our kids and community. It is a wonderful feeling when those who go above and beyond are recognized for their hard work.”

Those Who Excel FY 17 1

Back Row (L – R) Camille Lyons, Caroline Hickey, Jared VanVleet, Nathan Ross, and Caden Wiehle. Front Row (L – R) Taylor Lewin, Camryn Lauer, and Nathan Hunt.

Those Who Excel FY 17 2

Heather Alderks

Those Who Excel FY 17 3

Deb Lawson

Those Who Excel FY 17 4

Joe Mullikin

Those Who Excel FY 17 5

Micki White

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