Illinois Teachers Named to Curriculum Associates’ 2022 Class of Extraordinary Educators

Amy Penrod Spears of Alton Middle School in Alton, IL and Benay Walker of Franklin Jefferson Special Education District in Benton, IL receive national recognition for their best-in-class use of educational programs

North Billerica, MA, January 10, 2022

Curriculum Associates has named Amy Penrod Spears of Alton Middle School in Alton and Benay Walker of Franklin Jefferson Special Education District in Benton to its 2022 class of Extraordinary Educators, an annual program that celebrates and connects exemplar K–8 teachers from around the country. Chosen from hundreds of nominations, Spears and Walker are among 35 educators from 19 states selected for exhibiting best-in-class use of i-Ready®, i-Ready Classroom Mathematics, and/or Ready®, illustrating growth and achievement via formal assessments, demonstrating innovation and engagement practices for students, being evangelists for high standards and student achievement, and having taught for at least two years.

“With almost 500 years of teaching experience combined, this year’s 35 Extraordinary Educators are all innovative and dedicated classroom leaders whose impact does not go unnoticed,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “We commend Amy and Benay for their best practices in the classroom day in and day out and look forward to supporting them with unique professional learning opportunities to help further support the amazing work they do.”

This year’s class of Extraordinary Educators will have access to a network of peers from around the country to collaborate, connect, and learn from throughout the year, as well as access to professional learning opportunities from Curriculum Associates. They will also be invited to participate and present at the Extraordinary Educators Leadership Summit as well as other professional learning events.

This is the third year of the Extraordinary Educators program. This year’s class joins 75 additional educators from across the country in receiving this recognition.

“I am excited to be named one of the Extraordinary Educators of 2022 because it will give me the opportunity to collaborate and work with other outstanding educators in this country,” said Spears. “I'm excited to share my knowledge that I have gained over the past 15 years teaching math and learn from others who are truly excellent in their field.”

“I am honored and elated to be named a 2022 Extraordinary Educator,” said Walker. “This leadership role provides me the opportunity to dream big, grow professionally, and give back to my special education district, community, and colleagues. I look forward to collaborating with like-minded peers throughout the United States and learning from their experiences. These experiences will be taken back to my classroom and individualized to meet the unique needs of my students to promote academic growth and reinforce the motto ‘All Kids Can!’”

Today, Curriculum Associates’ programs are used in about 40 percent of Illinois school districts.

To learn about the 2022 Extraordinary Educators, visit

About Curriculum Associates
Founded in 1969, Curriculum Associates, LLC designs research-based print and online instructional materials, screens and assessments, and data management tools. The company’s products and outstanding customer service provide teachers and administrators with the resources necessary for teaching diverse student populations and fostering learning for all students.



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