Robert Powell, a paraprofessional at Thornton High School in Harvey, has been selected by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) as its 2017 Education Support Professional of the Year.

Powell was instrumental in creating a program for students called New Generation of Men.  The program is designed to serve high school male students who may benefit in their lives from the guidance and support of a positive role model.

Powell was recognized for the IEA support professional honor on Thursday (3/30/17) at the annual Representative Assembly of the IEA.  Some 1,200 delegates, guests and state dignitaries attended the event at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

“Robert Powell has become a mentor and essential support system to many young men who do not have a positive figure to guide them through the trials of life,” said IEA President Cinda Klickna.  “His devotion to students is making a real difference for the better.  We are proud to honor him as our education support professional of the year.”

In making the selection, the IEA awards committee also noted that Powell has been a strong advocate for paraprofessionals in the school district, serving as association vice president, negotiation team and building representative.  He serves on several district committees and works closely with teaching faculty in providing coordinated paraprofessional services.

The IEA is the state’s largest organization of school employees, representing over 130,000 educators, support professionals and higher education faculty.