Sowers Named 2020 Shining Star Award Recipient

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 10:37am

The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) honored Unit 4’s Kirstin Sowers as one of its two 2020 Shining Star Awards (formerly known as the Cup Cake Awards). Selected teachers are nominated by their peers and exhibit exemplary service, extra efforts, enthusiastic attitude, and innovative ideas that noticeably benefit their students.

Sowers, a K-12 ESL Coach/Coordinator, has been devoted to English Language Learning acquisition for nearly 20 yeats. In her current role, she serves as the English as a Second Language Coordinator for all K-12 schools in Unit 4.

Twenty-three of her peers presented support for Sowers and her recognition for this year’s Shining Star Award. Her nominators recognize Sowers as an “exemplary teacher, coach and leader; who initiates meaningful dialogue about the challenges of teaching language learners while providing strategies for success.” 

One nominator stated, “Kiri mentors by showing teachers unwavering acceptance for their expertise and skills while at the same time pushing them to learn new strategies to elevate learning. Kiri advocates for our multilingual learners and acknowledges that they have much to share with their peers, teachers and schools.”

Darcy Silver, Literacy Interventionist at Leal Elementary School in District 116, joined Sowers as this year’s CUSF Shining Star recipient. Both teachers will receive a $500 grant from CUSF for their classrooms. The mission of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation is to invest in educators and students by supporting creativity, innovation and excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools.  For more information, call 217-398-2873 or visit