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
  • January Teacher of the Month: Stephen Kurfess

    WGN’s January Teacher of the Month, Stephen Kurfess, is inspiring his students with his unique way of taking on a hard subject. Muriel Clair reports.

  • Suburban history teacher’s energy makes his lessons ‘real’

    It’s hard for Mike Smalley to sit still. He’s animated and on the move around his classroom at Crystal Lake Central High School. History excites him, and it shows. Mike Smalley, Teacher of the Month: “I do consider myself to be a history buff.  I think that’s why I love teaching. I get to work with kids, and I get to go after another one of my passions, which is history.” Getting his students to appreciate history — even a […]

  • Suburban chemistry teacher takes time for the science of stress

    GURNEE, Ill. — Our Teacher of the Month is a science instructor, but she has a winning formula for stress management. Molecular structures are the topic today in Lindsay Consdorf’s chemistry class at Warren Township High School in Gurnee – but her lessons on stress management are a constant. Lindsay Consdorf, teacher of the month: “The students that I tend to get in class are so stressed, and a lot of it comes from mainly themselves, bur from parents, from […]

  • Sound of music alive in Mr. Weible’s class

    CHICAGO — Our teacher of the month’s classroom is alive with the sound of music. Arturs Weible is the music teacher at Chopin Elementary School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood He’s WGN-TV’s Teacher of the Month.

  • Ms. Ledbetter has students focus on the world around them

    NORTHFIELD — When we caught up with our June Teacher of the Month, she was sitting in the school auditorium taking in the last student assembly of the just ending school year. Toward the end  of the assembly, or chapel, as it is officially called, Sharon Ledbetter found herself on stage receiving a $1000 check from Saint Xavier University and a certificate naming her WGN TV’s Teacher of the Month for a job well done! Sharon Ledbetter is a Language Arts […]

  • Her students say Ms Lonergan is ‘more than just a teacher’

    Our teacher of the month is a biology instructor here at St Ignatius College Prep, but her connection with her students goes beyond the classroom. Ms Maureen Lonergan, teacher of the month: “I go to their improv shows and their sports games and their dances and their talent shows, and I’m impressed with them.” Maureen Lonergan, who herself was once upon a time a student at St. Ignatius, has been teaching at the westside school for six years now and […]

  • History teacher with boundless energy, classroom full of artifacts has big fan base

    ST. JOHN, Ind.– Our teacher of the month is a history buff, and his students are reaping the benefits. Tristan Pintor, student: “Kids usually don’t like history, and they don’t because it’s boring, but how he teaches is incredible.” Tom Clark, Teacher of the Month: “You know history is boring so my goal is to change their attitude.” Tom Clark has been teaching history at Lake Central High School in St. John Indiana for 30 years. His student fan base, […]

  • Mrs Hayes’s creativity in adaptive PE gives students a voice: Teacher of the Month

    ST CHARLES, Ill — WGN’s Teacher of the Month belongs to that special breed of educators who takes students with special needs off the sidelines and eases them into the game. Shari Hayes is an adaptive physical ed instructor at St Charles North High School in suburban St Charles. Tenth grader Jack McGraw is one of her students. It was jack who brought her to our attention. Jack McGraw: “Mrs Hayes is the most fantastic teacher in the world. She’s […]

  • February Teacher of the Month: Scott Pasek

    EVERGREEN PARK, Ill — This month’s honoree is a business teacher at south suburban Evergreen Park Community High School. His name is Scott Pasek. The student who nominated Pasek says he is a teacher who is making a difference. How much of a difference and how, she tells us in her own words. Emily Radgowski, nominating student at Evergreen Park Community High School: “Before I took Mr Pasek’s business principles class, I had no idea where I wanted to go […]

  • Teacher of the Month: Alex Polanco

    In this computer driven world, our teacher of the month encourages his students to give their computers a rest — and get their hands dirty. WGN’s Teacher of the Month is Alex Polanco.  He’s an art teacher at Keller Junior High in northwest suburban Schaumburg. The Clay Project — dirty hands and all — is just one of many activities he uses to tap into his students creative abilities. Alex Polanco, Teacher of the Month: “I consider myself an acoustic art teacher, […]