Michael Murakami is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois ILSTOY Policy Fellow and a 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalist. Michael teaches 7th grade math at Whiteside Middle School, where he is the drama club faculty technical advisor. He previously taught computer technology to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and served as the lead math teacher at a middle school. Michael is a recipient of the Emmerson Excellence in Teaching Award. He became an educator after serving 20 years in the Air Force as a command pilot and achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel. Michael graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a BS in Civil Engineering. Following his retirement from the Air Force, he earned a BS in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.