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
  • Teacher’s unique approach to history helps students make sense of the present

    TINLEY PARK, Ill. — Political news is often in the headlines, and one Tinley Park High School teacher is making sure his students understand  what’s going on today by getting them engaged with the country’s past. It’s American history Dan Uniek style, and the high-energy discussions leave students captivated. “It’s a great time to be teaching this,” Uniek said. “I mean we’re talking impeachment today, I have to tell them what is going on with the whistleblower stuff and it’s […]

  • WGN’s June Teacher of the Month encourages students through graduation and beyond

    CHICAGO — It may surprise you that WGN’s June Teacher of the Month didn’t exactly ace high school or even embrace his own education early on. But now he channels that struggle to help his students take advantage of the opportunities he missed out on. Quang Nguyen runs the AVID program at Curie High School. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. He steps in as early as freshman year and sticks with students all the way to graduation, and […]

  • Kindergarten teachers focuses on students’ academics and emotions

    CHICAGO — When it comes to kindergarten, the lessons are little gems — they are simple but significant. The May Teacher of the Month embraces the opportunity and makes sure her students are off to a good start academically and emotionally. Diana Rocuant teaches at Reilly Elementary on Chicago’s Northwest Side. There’s story time and learning exercises, but just as important is the time she spends with her students simply sharing thoughts and emotions in “the peace circle.” “I want […]

  • 1st year junior high teacher already wowing students

    WOODRIDGE, Ill. — She’s been on the job for just three months and already her students think she’s a star. Erin Cohoon teaches language arts at Thomas Jefferson Junior High in west suburban Woodridge, where she makes sure her students know they matter. “The way she teaches you can tell she puts passion into the way she works,” said nominating student Natalie Lamar. “I’ve only been teaching since the start of this school year,” Cohoon said. You could say Erin Cohoon […]

  • Band teacher shares love of music, offers students emotional support

    CHICAGO — This month’s honoree teaches band and shares his love of music in the classroom, but it’s the emotional support he provides that’s been instrumental in the lives of his students at northwest suburban Huntley High School. Before Mr. Kevin Krivosik’s band class at Huntley High, there’s conversation before the music starts. “He will joke around with us, he’ll ask us in the beginning of class, ‘How is your day going? What is good, what is going on?’” Naomi […]

  • Former drill sergeant treats students as his own to ‘push them to become better’

    CHICAGO — A former military man who devoted 21 years of his life to service is on a new mission that’s no less important: helping urban teenagers achieve and excel. From their shiny black shoes to the polished brass on their lapels, the students of the Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) at Lincoln Park High School stand tall. The commanding voice of Sgt. Jorge Villalobos fills the large room, but the drill sergeant’s heart is even bigger. “I told them […]

  • From the science lab to careers in health care, teacher prepares students for future

    CHICAGO — The first Teacher of the Month for the 2018-2019 school year helps prepare her students for careers in healthcare. Kristian Coerper’s classes are rigorous. The curriculum she teaches at Kenwood Academy on the Chicago’s South Side stems from Project: Lead the Way, a national program focused on biomedical sciences. “That very cliché saying, ‘This is our future,’ but this is our future in science,” Coerper said. “You want them to be able to actually save the world. If […]

  • Literature teacher encourages students’ dreams through deep lessons

    WGN’s June Teacher of the Month teaches literacy, but it’s her own words that inspire her students, and her lessons are designed with deeper meaning in mind. “Let’s share some of our dreams,” Josephine Hatch-Skipper said. “I have a similar background with the students growing up in Chicago, so I just wanted them to have an adult in their life that believes in them and wants them to know that they can achieve anything.” That is the central theme in […]

  • Elementary teacher brings ‘thoughtful’ lessons into classroom

    CHICAGO — This month’s Teacher of the Month is thoughtful, kind, caring and, to her students’ delight, funny. All traits that don’t go unnoticed. “The Robert Frost poem [‘The Road Not Taken’] is a personal favorite of mine. We talk about Mr. Frost, what he meant in American literature,” Maggie Burke, Teacher of the Month, said. “We go stanzas at a time, but we have to do actions with them. And we all like doing the movements, and she does it with us,” Madeline Lynch, the student who nominated Mrs. […]

  • Suburban welding teacher helps spark creativity and confidence in students

    SUMMIT, Ill. — When it comes to welding, our Teacher of the Month is molding masters of the trade. Skill and creativity merge in his hands-on classroom, where students are building confidence and potential careers. Jason Smith teaches at Argo Community High School in south suburban Summit. “The more I teach the more I’m realizing that it’s really less about the welding and it’s more about getting these kids excited about something,” he says.  “And I try to spark that […]

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