Letters of recommendation now being accepted for Teacher of the Year


CLINTON — Residents may now send letters of recommendation supporting any of the nominees for the Clinton schools Teacher of the Year for the 2023-24 school year.

Sheila Wayne, Clinton Junior High School; Ginger Morgan, Lincoln Elementary; Elizabeth Pertl, Clinton Elementary School, Kristen Hoyt, Clinton Elementary School, and Melissa Tool, Lincoln Elementary are this year’s nominees.

Families are encouraged to write letters in support of any of the teachers nominated..  Letters should be submitted by Thursday, April 4.


Letters can be mailed to:

TOY Committee

c/o Jessie Peterson, CES

680 Illini Drive

Clinton, IL 61727


Letters also may be emailed to jpeterson@cusd15.org.

All letters will be put into packets and given to the individual teachers during the Spring breakfast.

Below are biographies of the Teacher of the Year candidates:

Sheila Wayne is employed at Clinton Junior High School, where she currently teaches 8th grade mathematics. She is a Clinton native, graduating in the CHS class of 1988. Sheila attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Continuing her education, she earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Illinois State University and 48 additional hours specializing in middle school mathematics. She was hired in the fall of 1992 and was introduced to Jerry Wayne when he was hired into the district a couple years later.They were married in 1996  and have two children.  Their daughter Victoria is completing her final year at Mizzou Veterinary School and will graduate in May.  Garrett, their son,  recently graduated from Eureka College and is looking to continue his education in the medical profession.Sheila is very proud to be teaching in the community that she grew up in. She has served on a variety of school and community committees over the years.  Along with her husband, she has made great friends and built strong bonds with the students and takes joy in seeing them succeed in life after graduation. 


Ginger Morgan is a special education teacher for Kindergarten and 1st grades at Lincoln School. She graduated from Decatur Christian and then went on to Western Illinois University where she received her  Bachelor of Science degree with a Learning Behavior Specialist license. Before coming to Clinton, she taught in Decatur Public Schools for 9 1/2 years. She is married to Bryan Morgan, a trooper for Illinois State Police. They have three children, McKegan (10th), Kaidyn (7th) and Mady (5th) who are all active in sports and extracurricular activities. Ginger has served as a board member for the CEA.  She loves advocating for children with special needs, including participating in the Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics and helping design an adaptive playground for Lincoln School.


Melissa Tool is a 1st grade teacher at Lincoln School. Her family moved to Clinton when she started 5th grade and she graduated from CHS in 1984.She attended Illinois State University and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She began her career teaching 5th grade in Wapella. Two years later, the Wapella School District consolidated with Clinton.She was fortunate to have a teaching position and soon moved to teaching 1st grade. In December 2019, she received her Master’s of Science degree in Teaching and Learning from Illinois State University.This is Melissa’s 32nd year of teaching. Melissa has served on various committees over the years. This year she is part of the American Education Week Committee and is on the Lincoln School PBIS Team and the Lincoln School Building Improvement Team.She resides in Clinton with her husband, Scott, who farms. They have three children. Matt is the co-owner of Tool Excavating, Megan is a kindergarten teacher at Douglas School and Amanda is a dental hygienist in Mahomet. They also have two grandchildren.She is proud to teach in the community she lives in and has been a part of for so long. She enjoys helping children learn and working with her colleagues. Outside of school, she loves being with her family, spending time outdoors and baking. She attends St. John’s Catholic Church.


Elizabeth Pertl is a 3rd grade teacher at Clinton Elementary School.She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Alabama in 2014 and is currently in her 9th year of teaching. She taught in St. Joseph, La. as a Teach for America Corps member from 2015-2017, teaching 3rd grade and Kindergarten.In 2017, she moved to Clinton, to continue her career. She taught Special Education at CES for four years, then started her current role as a 3rd Grade teacher in 2021. Since moving to Clinton, she has served on several school and union committees, worked as a summer school teacher and tutor, and has mentored at The Vault.She resides in Clinton with her husband, Ben Pertl, who teaches 6th grade English at CJHS. They are excited to welcome their first child, Riley Grant, this April.


Kristen Hoyt has been teaching 2nd grade with the Clinton School District for 16 years. She worked at Lincoln School for six years before moving to CES in 2014. Kristen graduated from Clinton High School in 2003 and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Eastern Illinois University in 2008.She lives in Clinton with her husband, Geoff, son, Jennings, and step-daughter, Audrey. Kristen is active in her school, participating in many committees at the building level and mentoring new teachers. She has also served in her community, volunteering at The Vault and coaching youth sports. Kristen attends the Clinton Presbyterian Church where she is on the Christian Education Committee and teaches Sunday School.