Return to Headlines

Boraas honored with Star Award from IEA ESP Council

Boraas with students
Jayden Stoltenberg, Danny McCleary, Mrs Boraas, Nate Bynum, Garon Westfall, and Molly Hahn


“I do it for them because they’re our future. So to see them succeed is success for all of us, and I love that,” said Teresa Boraas of her role at Sherrard Jr./Sr. High School working with students in credit recovery.

In February, she was chosen to receive “The Star Award” from the Illinois Education Association Education Support Professional Council.

“It was very exciting to get it, especially in a time that’s been more challenging,” said Boraas about receiving the honor.

According to a letter from IEA ESP Council Chair, Jill Scarcelli, she was chosen for, “Exemplary contributions to students, education and/or the strengthening of our union. The Star Award was created to honor ESP’s and the often-unrecognized successes and sacrifices they make everyday in education.”

To be considered for the award, a colleague has to nominate a deserving ESP. The nomination letter does not give away who wrote it. It praised her work with students in the credit recovery program she manages. “Students graduate, pass classes and become better young adults because of her ‘tough love’ and compassion. She creates relationships that last a lifetime with students who many times have very few positive role models in their lives. She continually promotes the best in these students by making them believe in themselves. She is a constant cheerleader for students who have no one.”

Helping Student

High School Principal Tim Wernentin agreed with that assessment of Boraas. “Teresa is such a deserving recipient of this award. She always goes above and beyond for our students and does whatever it takes to help them be successful. Additionally, she takes on the responsibility of organizing and chaperoning the annual student trip to Washington, D.C. while juggling working at summer school. Congratulations to Teresa who is one of Sherrard's best!”

The credit recovery program at Sherrard is for students who need to catch up in the classes they’ve fallen behind in - or previously failed.

The Coronavirus pandemic caused the program to be inundated with students who needed extra help - alongside students already struggling to catch up from the prior semester.

“The governor said, due to the pandemic, that students who had Fś would be given until December 31st of that year to make up missing work/incompletes in order to pass their classes… We had all the incompletes in here. It was history, english, algebra, geometry, sciences, it was every class.” Boraas said she even had kids doing foods classes. On any given day, she could be helping students in any subject. They work independently - making up missing work, or retaking a course online through Plato.

“A lot of this is just about accountability. It’s checking in with kids, ‘Are you getting your homework done? Are you handing it in?’ Teaching them good academic behavior, responsibility, accountability, getting them where they need to be to get back on track,” Boraas said, “It helps just to have somebody to check in.”


Boraas said she didn’t know the award existed and when it showed up in her mailbox she was surprised at a time when she needed it the  most, “My mom passed away in February, it was the day that I came back that I saw it. It was just that time I really needed that uplift - that little boost to carry me.”

“It just kinda took my breath away. I’ve never been one of those people that needs a pat on the back, but when you get it unsuspecting - it feels good.”

She said even though it’s hard work, it’s rewarding, “It just totally became my passion. I do it for them because they’re our future.”






Cala Smoldt, Communications Coordinator