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JEA names Tantillo its 2016 Teacher Inspiration Award winner

The Journalism Education Association selected Susan Hathaway Tantillo, MJE, of McHenry, Illinois, as its 2016 Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award recipient.

Tantillo is a former newspaper adviser of The Spokesman at Wheeling (Illniois) High School, as well as an active workshop and college instructor. She served as a JEA board member from 1978 to 2009.

This award recognizes a teacher who, through the teaching and/or advising of journalism, inspired others to pursue journalism teaching as a career and who has made a positive difference in the teaching community. It was first presented in 2003.

Tantillo will be honored at the JEA Advisers Institute in Las Vegas, July 11-14.

“It’s no secret Susan Tantillo deserves credit for my career path. But she also deserves some credit for the person I have become outside of work as well,” wrote nominator Karen Barrett, MJE, a former Spokesman staff member who later advised the paper.

Tantillo has taught for Kent State University as part of its online master’s degree program for journalism educators. From 2001 to 2015 she lectured for the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Reynolds Institute at the school, working with hundreds of high school media advisers.

“For almost 500 attendees, most of them new to the profession, she focused on writing and leads, offering resources and a student-centered approach to developing rubrics,” wrote Candace Perkins Bowens, MJE, associate professor of journalism at Kent State and director of the Center of Scholastic Journalism. She noted Tantillo’s consistently strong evaluations, which cited her inspiration.

Tantillo served the Illinois Journalism Education Association as its treasurer from 1988-2016.

“So much of what Susan does comes so naturally to her that I’m certain there are scores of other scholastic journalism educators who have been touched by her influence,” wrote Brenda Field, CJE, yearbook adviser at Glenbrook High School, Glenview, Illinois. “She’s often the first to send a congratulatory email or to post words of encouragement on Facebook. She’s always a willing ear when support is needed. Susan has worked tirelessly on behalf of scholastic journalism for decades — it’s impossible to imagine where her sphere of influence ends.”

The Journalism Education Association is a national organization of scholastic journalism teachers and school media advisers. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

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