Muriel Clair

Award-winning journalist Muriel Clair first joined WGN News in 1978. After 34 years at WGN, Muriel made the decision to move to part-time status in December of 2011. She now reports WGN-TV’s “Teacher of the Month,” in which WGN-TV recognizes outstanding local teachers for their achievements in the classroom.

Before working in news, Muriel taught English in Detroit and Kansas City public schools. She then began working in broadcasting at the NBC Kansas City affiliate WDAF-TV in the early 1970′s. While there, she won praise that earned her a spot at WMAQ-TV in Chicago to cover the education beat from the vantage point of an ex-teacher and an experienced journalist.

Muriel has received numerous awards for excellence in journalism. In May 2007, she was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Chicago Silver Circle, which honors individuals who have devoted 25 years or more to the television industry. In 2003, Muriel won the Broadcasters Award for African-American TV and Filmmakers. In 2002, The Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions awarded Muriel for her “Journalistic Integrity and Work to Improve the Criminal Justice System.” Muriel was also awarded Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Woman of the Year for “Outstanding Service” in the field of communication in 2000.

Muriel has served as a board member of the Marcy Newberry Association, a social service agency. She has actively worked with Child Services, a community-based organization that helps children reclaim and control their lives. She has also served on the board of the Free Street Theater and has been a mentor in the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism program. Muriel is a member of the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. In addition to being recognized for Best Spot News reporting in 1999, Muriel had the distinction of being named as one of Today’s Chicago Woman’s “100 Women Who Make A Difference.” Muriel was chosen as the Chicago Park District’s 1994 Chicagoan of the Year for promoting Chicago’s youth through her “For Kids’ Sake” series. In 1993, Muriel won the Associated Press First Place Award for her work on the series, “My Brother’s Keeper.”

The Chicago Archdiocese has honored Muriel twice with the Cardinal’s Communicator Award. She was first honored in 1991 for her work on the series, “Families in Touch – Growing up Drug Free.” Muriel received her second recognition from the Archdiocese in 1993 again for her “For Kids’ Sake” reports.

She received the Silver Dome Award from the Illinois Broadcasters’ Association in 1991 for her series, “For Kids’ Sake.” Additionally, The Illinois Psychological Association awarded her its 1990 media award for her reports on mental health and for her commitment to children through the series, “For Kids’ Sake.”

Recent Articles
  • Kindness and caring just as important as reading and math in Miss Wood’s classroom

    Our Teacher of the Month teaches second grade in far northwest suburban Ingleside. Of course, reading, writing, math and science dominate her lesson plans, but it’s her kindness, caring and show of affection that’s having the most impact. Miss Wood’s personality shines through each day.  She puts a heavy emphasis on the importance of self-love and the love and affection for others. It’s part of the family-like atmosphere she’s created over the past 19 years at Gavin Central Elementary. In […]

  • Rhyme, reason, reading and language all part of Mr. Puc’s classroom

    NAPERVILL, Ill. — He brings unbridled and boundless energy to the classroom — and also a little rap. There’s rhyme and reason behind his technique and his students aren’t missing a beat. It’s a strategy that’s working in Martin Puc’s reading and language arts classroom at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in west suburban Naperville. For making a difference Puc was the recipient of one thousand dollars from Saint Xavier University’s School of Education.

  • Horticulture teacher shows students how to grow in more ways than one

      KIRKLAND, Ill. — Our teacher of the month, Joshua Dodge, is showing his students how to grow their own food. We got a taste of his hands-on curriculum while visiting Kirkland, a farming community about 65 miles from the city of Chicago. What we discovered in the school’s greenhouse was well worth the trip. Muriel Clair has the full story. If you are a student and you have a teacher who is making a difference, we want to hear […]

  • Choir teachers bring smile to students’ faces, song to their hearts

    Their collective voices sing in harmony, but it’s their teacher’s voice that resonates with the choir students at UIC Prep in Chicago. Student Nia Jordan nominated Kelsey Tortorice for Teacher of the Month consideration. Singing has struck a powerful note with the soft spoken sophomore and she says Ms. Tortorice was there for her during a difficult time. “When I lost a family member, my grandmother, I was going through a hard time. She would pull me aside and ask […]

  • President Obama calls Chicago’s violence ‘heartbreaking’ in one-on-one with WGN

    WASHINGTON — It’s not over until it’s over. President Obama still has 15 days in office until he passes the baton to the incoming administration. But today, WGN’s Muriel Clair had a conversation at the White House that was far more personal than political. In the next few days the president will be putting the final touches on his farewell address. His head speech writer told WGN News a draft is on his desk right now, awaiting his edits, which […]

  • English teacher ‘inspires everyone’ at Chicago middle school

    In the words of one of her students … our teacher of the month is bubbly and entertaining, committed and caring, challenging and worthy of recognition. Her name is Elizabeth Stefanec. She teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade English at St Helen School on Chicago’s northwest side, and she is making a difference. Giavanna Javan, nominating student: “She makes a difference because she inspires everyone and she always uses different ways to teach the class. We need to look outside […]

  • Teacher takes his students into space – without leaving their desks

    CHICAGO — Our Teacher of the Month is an outer space enthusiast who takes his students to the moon without them ever leaving their seats. They gaze among the stars with stops by, among other places, Jupiter and Mars. “My favorite thing is being excited and seeing their eyes light up over some fact they didn’t know about the solar system. They say ‘Really?’ and I feed off of that,” said Tyler Michie, who teaches Astronomy and Earth Science at […]

  • Math teacher inspires students with rhyme, never-give-up attitude

    Don’t let the rhyme and choreography fool you. “I will have students 10 years out come back, like, ‘Hey! Multiply the co-efficient, add the exponent.’ You can’t argue with it because it works!” said Steven McIlrath, WGN’s October Teacher of the Month. This is calculus with Mr. Mac at Austin College and Career Academy. His formula’s not only transforming the way students learn math — it’s changing the way they feel about themselves. “He tells you to set your goals higher […]

  • Suburban music teacher strikes the right chord with students

    SKOKIE, Ill. – WGN’s Teacher of the Month is on staff at Niles North High School in north suburban Skokie. When his students come to this classroom, they close the books, turn off the computers and turn up the music. Mike Moehlman is the music teacher at Niles North. “If there’s a place that I can be involved and teaching, usually I want to be a part of it,” he says. Under Mike’s direction, the music program at Niles North […]

  • Students appreciate Chicago science teacher’s hands on, friendly classroom

    “Good Morning, Ms. Chu!” Anna Chu is WGN’s Teacher of the Month. Ms Anna Chu, Teacher of the Month: “Our activity for today is called connecting circuits, and our challenge question is, how is energy transferred and transformed in electrical circuits?” Ms Chu is a science teacher at Nettelhorst Elementary School on Chicago’s Northside. To let her students tell it she is the best of the best. Aidan Finn, Nettelhorst student: “There are many teachers in this school and all are great, […]