THE DISTRICT 41 THOSE WHO EXCEL HONOREES FOR 2012-2013
Eleven individuals have received the District 41 Those Who Excel award, recognized by their peers for being outstanding ambassadors for the district who model the district's Learner Characteristics in everything they do. Below are the winners along with excerpts from the nominations that were submitted on their behalf.
Phyllis Hanna - director of finance and operations
During her 10 years with the district, Phyllis has become known as a person who quickly figures out what needs to be done and does it. She educates herself on the options, collaborates with others and follows through. Phyllis is always engaged and works tirelessly to see that business operations are running smoothly. She meets regularly with school office staff to ensure they have what they need to do their jobs, and is proactive in reaching out to stakeholders regarding any project with which she is associated. Among her most visible projects are the transition to Skyward, the introduction of elementary hot lunch, and organizing professional development for support staff on SIP Days. As an ambassador, she exhibits professionalism, judgment, trustworthiness and a comprehensive understanding of the larger world in which we operate. Phyllis embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, particularly those of Resilient in the Face of Challenges and Ability to Embrace Change.
Dr. Ann Riebock -superintendent
Dr. Riebock has been a strong, inspiring leader throughout her seven years in the district, helping to create a spirit of innovation, accountability and the desire to be a leading district among its peers. Her high expectations, capacity for hard work and ability to foster authentic relationships have engendered great loyalty among staff, parents and community members. She works tirelessly with all stakeholders and has inspired many groups to produce meaningful projects that have a positive effect on student learning. Under her leadership, the district has embraced new pathways for teaching science and technology, incorporated the new Common Core standards and is always finding more and better ways to meet the needs of every child. She is our most visible and effective ambassador, and embodies all the District 41 Learner Characteristics.
Stacy Slater - Benjamin Franklin literacy specialist
Stacy brings professionalism and fervor to anything connected to literacy. She is always encouraging, nurturing and motivating teachers to explore new ideas and methods. Her work with Benjamin Franklin Professional Learning Communities has strengthened internal relationships and literacy development, and helped the school embrace the new Common Core literacy standards effectively. She devotes all of her energy to support and advocate for teachers, and to help children succeed. She is an amazing ambassador for Ben Franklin, for literacy and for the teaching profession. She embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Make Connections Between Present and Future Opportunities, Communicate Effectively to a Variety of Audiences, and Think Critically and Reflectively.
Kayla Wheeler - Hadley literacy specialist
Kayla Wheeler is always thinking about ways to reach students and coach teachers, developing creative, unique lessons and thinking "outside the jar." She loves to see students grow and has provided extra activities to foster that, such as bringing in Chicago Young Authors to work with at-risk students. She nurtures her students and takes great care of her colleagues--when they turn to her for advice, she is always there with an open door, helping them to become better at their craft. She is active on many committees and works collaboratively to develop curriculum. Kayla embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Creative, Intrinsically Motivated, and Engaged and Enthusiastic.
Katie Jakalski - Abraham Lincoln 2nd grade teacher
Katie's focus is always what she can do to make the most of every day for each and every child. She is a continual learner and is a role model to students, exemplifying an engaged, enthusiastic teacher. Throughout the day, Katie embraces the children's ideas and curiosity while engaging their individual needs and actively teaching the District 41 Learner Characteristics. The compassion she has for each child and her genuine desire to see them learn how to be caring and thoughtful individuals is a foundation of all her teaching. As a member of the Building Leadership Team and of the Think Tank, and in her everyday relationships, she is a wonderful ambassador for the school and the profession, always conducting herself with poise and professionalism. She embodies all the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially Optimistic, Challenge Seeking, and Able to Embrace Change.
Sarah Rodriguez - Benjamin Franklin 4th grade teacher
Sarah is a leader in Project-Based Learning, developing units that take all her students' individual learning needs into account. She sets high expectations and has earned the respect and admiration of the whole staff. She is often the first person to pioneer something new and openly shares her learning and experience with all. She even participates in physical education with her students, making it even more fun and engaging. Always willing to support her colleagues, Sarah is respectful and open to others' viewpoints. She was an outstanding ambassador for the Think Tank work, sharing the vision with staff and community members. Sarah embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Future Oriented with a Global Perspective, Resilient in the Face of Challenges, and Respectful of the Environment.
Patricia Heisler - Hadley 6th grade social studies teacher
Past and present students of Patricia Heisler sing her praises and after many years of teaching, her zest for the profession is as strong as it was on day one. As a team leader, she shares her knowledge with other teachers along with her expertise so the team can learn and grow. Her committee work within the school and her work with student teachers have contributed much over the years to Hadley. One of the reasons that Patricia is a great teacher is that she continues to care about her students long after they have left her classroom. A strong ambassador for the profession, her focus on academic excellence and commitment to community service inspires other teachers and her students. Patricia embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Optimistic, Challenge Seeking, Engaged and Enthusiastic, and Nurturing.
Jody Tinsley - Benjamin Franklin reading assistant
Jody works with many students, and gives each and every one of them as much attention and support as possible. She is compassionate and nurtures each student with her warm personality and sincere demeanor. An asset to the school and a fine ambassador for it, Jody is a valuable resource to our students and to our staff. She seeks new knowledge and skills and is always available to those who need help. Jody embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Utilize Multiple Literacy Skills, Assume Responsibility for Learning, Utilize Organizational Skills to Enhance Learning, and Communicate Effectively.
Marie Delahanty - Forest Glen 1st grade teacher
Marie Delahanty has served the district with distinction for 26 years. She is the first to rush forward to help others, the first to shoulder a load, the first to present colleagues with fresh and exciting spins on instructional practices. She has always placed the nurturing and well-being of each and every child above every other consideration. An eager collaborator, she shares her ideas willingly and respectfully. She has received many PEP grants, won the C-Tipp grant in 1994 and served on district committees for many years. She not only embraces change, she seeks every opportunity to move her craft forward. Marie is an inspiring ambassador for the district among her peers, parents and the community. She embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Optimistic, Future Oriented with a Global Perspective, Nurturing, and Engaged and Enthusiastic.
Terra Costa Howard -Board of Education
Terra Costa Howard's stewardship on the District 41 Board of Education spans eight years; during that time she has served as BOE president and represented the BOE on the Learning Leadership Team, the Continuous Improvement Team and other committees. She has been a superb ambassador, representing the district to the community and the community to the district with dedication, energy and patience. She embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Future Oriented with a Global Perspective, Able to Embrace Change, Collaborative, Optimistic, and Engaged and Enthusiastic.
Kristin Massey - Abraham Lincoln PTA president
Kristen Massey is known for her energy, creativity and organizational skills, attributes that shone brightly during this 50th birthday year for Abraham Lincoln School. She has been instrumental in many special Lincoln activities; her dedication to students is unsurpassed and her enthusiasm is apparent in everything she sets out to do. Her amazing organizational skills allowed her to accomplish great things while making it look easy and seamless. An amazing ambassador for the school and for the district, Kristen reaches out to current and past Lincoln families. She embodies the District 41 Learner Characteristics, especially those of Solve Complex Problems, Utilize Organizational Skills to Enhance Learning, Communicate Effectively Using a Variety of Media, and Make Connections Between Present and Future Opportunities.