Jerry Mathis Young Teacher Award

Jerry served as President in 1985 and was a Professor of Speech and Theater at Sauk Valley College. He coached individual events for a while, but was much more active in oral interpretation festival competitions. Mathis published and presented several papers at national conferences on oral interpretation. He directed numerous outstanding theater productions during his tenure at Sauk Valley College. An Endowed scholarship in his name has been established at Sauk Valley College. Shortly after his death, the College also built a new state of the art theater and named it the Jerry Mathis Theater. He won several outstanding teaching awards at Sauk Valley College and was recognized nationally as an outstanding educator. The Mathis Award is presented to a current Illinois teacher who has taught five or fewer years in the field of communication or theatre and who has demonstrated outstanding potential for success in the discipline.

2023 Jerry Mathis Young Teacher Award Winner

Tyler Herron, Belleville West High School

Tyler Herron is an English Teacher, Assistant Speech Coach, and Contest Drama technical director at Belleville West High School in Belleville, IL. Entering his fourth year of education, he teaches both developing and struggling freshman readers as well as traditional senior-level instruction. As a teacher, he also sponsors the senior class and oversees their involvement with Homecoming, as well as emceeing the school's Homecoming Royalty and Prom Royalty ceremonies. As a novice coach, he has championed a State-winning Humorous Duet performance and has coached two State-finaling Performances in the Round. In addition, nationally, he has coached a Top 30 Duo Interpretation. He is excited to be coaching the activities that he once participated in as a student, and he is even more excited to say that he is now coaching and collaborating with the same people that ignited his love for and dedication to speech and theatre.

Watch Tyler's acceptance speech here:

Past Winners of the Jerry Mathis Young Teacher Award

1996 Rebecca Gray, Elk Grove Community High School

1997 Jennifer Zimmerman, Honnegah High School

1998 Linda Koop, Western Illinois University

1999 No award given

2000 Jennifer Svehla, Belleville East High School

2001 Amy Vokac, Cary-Grove High School

2002 Carrie Schreiber, Lincoln High School

2003 Lazaro Lopez, John Hersey High School

2004 Adam Jenkins, Belleville West High School

2005 Chelsea Cheatham, Lincoln Community High School

2006 Anna Oxboro, Washington High School

2007 Mark Adams, University High School

2008 No award given

2009 Dave Naze, Prairie State College

2010 Michael Greenstein, Glenbrook North High School

2011 Anthony Zoubek, Dundee-Crown High School/Bartlett High School

2012 Richard G. Jones, Eastern Illinois University

2013 Kacy Abeln, Kishwaukee College

2014 Jessica Vallaincourt, Elgin High School

2015 Anna Wright, Illinois State University

2016 Justin Matkovich, Downers Grove South High School

2017 Brian Rohman, University High School

2018 Bryan Asbury, Illinois Central College

2019 No Award Given

2020 No Award Given

2021 Kanoa Mulling, Homewood-Flossmoor High School

2022 Bill Lucio, Harper Community College

2923 Tyler Herron, Belleville West High School

Illinois Communication and Theatre Association

C/O Edward Schwarz

Prairie State College

202 S. Halsted St.

Chicago Heights, IL 60411


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