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Annual ‘Those Who Excel’ Awards Recognize Best of RPS 205

Those Who Excel Award Winners

The annual Rockford Public Schools Those Who Excel educational awards program honored educators and support teams last week.

Those Who Excel is an Illinois State Board of Education Program sponsored by RPS 205 and the Rockford Education Association. It’s different from other education awards programs in that staff recognize their colleagues and peers in seven categories.

RPS 205 employees were recognized this year for going above and beyond in performing their job duties. Nominees and the winners are noted below. Congratulations!

2022 Nominees & winners:

Winners are noted in bold.

Early Career Educators

Melissa Diaz, Lathrop Elementary School

Ryan Lambert, Kennedy Middle School



Ten Toes Down, Kennedy Middle School (Virgil Hobson, Stefan Miller, Nakeya Poole)



Blake Hand, Welsh Elementary School


Education Service Personnel, non-certificated

Mary Beth Jones, Guilford High School

Kristine LaFranca, Fairview Early Childhood Center

Stephanie Nold, Riverdahl Elementary School

Bu Thaw, East High School


Student Support Personnel, certificated

Mike Cefaratti, Kennedy Middle School

Denise Niner, Health Services

Jill Silvest Mulligan, Kennedy Middle School


Classroom Teacher, dedicated to the memory of Sara Ingrassia

Joseph Blume, Roosevelt High School

Janiece Gehrke, East High School

Sue Gillenwater, Riverdahl Elementary School

Jackie Kliebe, Guilford High School

Maribel Mendez, Ellis Elementary School

Jodi Severson, Cherry Valley Elementary School

Marissa Williams, Kennedy Middle School

Person Silhouette with headphones

Linda Kimel

Linda Kimel is a retired RPS 205 nurse who works two days a week at East High School. Linda is the chair of the Those Who Excel Committee.

  • Shoutouts
  • Teacher Appreciation
  • Those Who Excel Awards