Wednesday, May 18, 2011


On behalf of Governor Pat Quinn and in conjunction with National Teacher Appreciation Day, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs presented retired U.S. Army Majorand Marshall High School Teacher
Aaron Rucker with the first-ever Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education. Illinois Department of Veterans’Affairs Director Dan Grant presented the governor’s Award to Rucker, 42, during a ceremony at Marshall Metropolitan High School, 3250 West
Adams Street, where Rucker is a Special Education teacher. Director Grant also honored Rucker, a decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a former Special forces Officer, as May 2011 Veteran of the Month. “Major Rucker is a man of high achievement and commitment having honorably and courageously served his country in Afghanistan, and is now successfully using those skills to teach children in the ChicagoPublic Schools,” Governor Quinn said. “For his unwavering service and achievement, his is absolutely deserving of both the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, and Veteran of the Month.”
The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education is given to a military veteran and participant of the
Illinois Troops to Teachers Programwho has excelled in the field of public education. Rucker, also a former Chicago Police Officer, currently chairs Marshall’s Special Education Department and also teaches Economics, U.S.History and World Studies. Troops to Teachers is a federal program administered in Illinois by IDVA. It assists post-deployment service-members transitioning to new careers as public school teachers by providing financial assistance, educational counseling, and job referrals for veterans working
in public education. The IDVA Veteran of the Month Award highlights the work of military veterans who provide inspiration and leadership to their communities and other veterans through continued public service. Rucker, who was wounded in Afghanistan, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and National Defense Service Medal among other awards, for his service. Rucker, a Chicago native, is also a member of the Disabled American Veterans, is an active participant in the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center’s Feed a Veteran Program and works with the Wounded Warrior Project. He also holds three master’s degrees in education and is Type 75 and Type 10 certified. “Major Aaron Rucker epitomizes the type of service and advocacy we are always proud to honor,” says IDVA Director Dan Grant. “He is a role model for all of us – veteran and civilian – on how effective we can be and how great a difference we can make when we choose to serve the people in our communities. We hope his great example encourages other Illinois veterans with an interest in public education to utilize the Troops to Teachers Program.”

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