Press Release


True Learning, True Teaching Seminars provide free opportunity to study the Renaissance or the Midwest’s important folk and ethnic music heritage

CHICAGO—After the tests are taken and grades assigned, how do Illinois’ best teachers spend their summer break? In class, with the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC), of course. This summer the IHC provided 34 Illinois K-12 teachers the opportunity to take part in an intellectual retreat. The teachers—recently accepted into the IHC’s “True Learning, True Teaching Seminars” program—spent July 13-18 in one of two all-expenses paid, residential seminars at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois. The seminars offered were “Understanding Nature through Art and Science” and “Folk and Ethnic Music in Illinois and the Midwest.”

Created six years ago by the IHC, the “True Learning, True Teaching” program rewards the state’s finest teachers with opportunities for further learning and intellectual renewal. Each seminar contains a humanities focus, is interdisciplinary in scope, and is led by a prominent humanist scholar from a local college or university.

The following teachers were selected for the “True Learning, True Teaching” program:

Folk and Ethnic Music in Illinois and the Midwest:

Ms. Lynne Bilyeau, Bond Elementary, Central A & M (Assumption)

Ms. Marilyn Beyerl, Our Lady of Good Counsel (Aurora)

Ms. Patricia Plack, Brimfield Grade School (Brimfield)

Ms. Jill Acker, The Latin School of Chicago (Chicago)

Ms. Donna Knepper, A.N. Pritzker Elementary School (Chicago)

Ms. Donna Tarbunas, Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy (Chicago)

Ms. Maria Elena Villalpando, Inter-American Magnet School (Chicago)

Ms. Cicely Wilson, Chicago International Charter School, (Chicago)

Ms. Julie Bianchin, Indian Trail School (Downers Grove)

Ms. Sharon Bossert, Dwight Grade School (Dwight)

Ms. Kathryn Gallagher, Harris/Blair Elementary Schools (Madison)

Ms. Margaret Gertsch, Woodgate Elementary School (Matteson)

Ms. Sadie Piggott, Murrayville-Woodson School (Murrayville)

Ms. Connie Leake, Lincoln Elementary School (Pontiac)

Ms. Catherine Lane, Schuyler Middle School (Rushville)

Ms. Carole Nolin, Indian Valley Vocational Center (Sandwhich)

Ms. Eudora Drollinger, Sullivan Elementary School (Sullivan)

Understanding Nature Through Art & Science:

Ms. Melissa Dolan, Bond Elementary (Assumption)

Ms. Diane Van Winkle, Benld Elementary School (Benld)

Ms. Lois Daniel, Central Catholic High School (Bloomington)

Ms. Elda Bruno, Inter-American Magnet School (Chicago)

Ms. Alice Chase, Ames Middle School (Chicago)

Ms. Lourdes Danaher, Hibbard Elementary School (Chicago)

Ms. Kathryn Gemperle, St. Gregory High School (Chicago)

Mr. Conor Klaus, Carries Jacobs Bond Elementary (Chicago)

Ms. Clarinda Luckett, James Monroe Elementary (Chicago)

Ms. Nancy Krasinski, Coultrap Elementary (Geneva)

Mr. Timothy Myers, Adlai Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire)

Ms. Barbara Lamar, Manhattan School District #114 (Manhattan)

Ms. Brenda Schroeder, Rochelle Township High School (Rochelle)

Ms. Anna Kaplan, Niles North Elementary School (Skokie)

Mr. Robert Marcy, Iles Elementary School (Springfield)

In addition to providing intellectual renewal, the seminars provide a retreat atmosphere in which teachers from diverse academic backgrounds and disciplines can gain deeper insight into their profession. Tuition, lodging, meals, and program materials are provided by the IHC. Furthermore, though the seminars grow out of a belief in “learning for learning’s sake,” participants earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

For more information about the “True Learning, True Teaching” program, please contact Carole Cosimano or Clark Halker at 312.422.5580 or visit


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