Lincoln Magnet’s Layne Zimmers named 2016 Educator of the Year

Douglas/PREP Kari Borders named Administrator of the Year

Layne Zimmers, a teacher at Lincoln Magnet School, has been named the Horace Mann Educator of the Year. Also, Kari Borders, site administrator at Douglas/PREP, was named Horace Mann Administrator of the Year. Both recipients were recognized at a May 10 luncheon sponsored by Springfield Public Schools and Horace Mann Educators Corporation (NYSE: HMN).

Zimmers teaches 6th grade world history at Lincoln Magnet School and has been there since 2010. Prior to that she taught at Grant Middle School. She is applauded for her creative hands-on, experiential approach to teaching and bringing history to life for her students.

Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Gill and Horace Mann President and CEO Marita Zuraitis presented Zimmers with a crystal owl and $1,000 cash prize.

Kari Borders has served as site administrator at Douglas/Preparatory Alternative School for the past five years. She has worked for District 186 since 1994, starting out at Jefferson Middle School first as a special education teacher and eventually becoming an assistant principal. She is being recognized for creating a supportive and nurturing environment for students and being an exemplary and committed leader to her staff.

Borders was presented with $500 and a plaque.

“It is a pleasure for me to see our teachers and administrators honored for their passion for teaching and dedication to students,” said Gill. “We’re lucky to call Horace Mann a committed partner and privileged to be a part of a tradition that spotlights our amazing educators of District 186.”

Educator of the Year finalists were Jenni Baldin (Feitshans Elementary), Nicolette Harris (Fairview Elementary), Martha Havey (Marsh Elementary) and Lou Anne Lowder (Lee School). Each finalist received a crystal apple award and $250.

Administrator of the Year finalists were Kenyatta Revelle, principal of Iles School, and Karen Stroemer, assistant principal of Franklin Middle School. They each received $250.

The Rising Star award was given to three promising teachers who have been with the District four years are less. The 2016 Rising Stars recipients are: Samantha Cuzzort (Grant Middle School), Dan Hartman (Dubois Elementary) and Erica Quandahl (Fairview Elementary). They each received $250 and a plaque.

Horace Mann has sponsored the Educator of the Year program since its inception in 1988. An independent panel of Springfield-area community leaders selects the Educator of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and the Rising Stars.

Horace Mann — the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators’ financial needs — provides auto and homeowners insurance, retirement annuities, life insurance and other financial solutions. Founded by educators for educators® in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. For more information visit

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