Round Lake Area Unit District 116 board members Thursday night recognized two employees and a resident for receiving a statewide excellence honor.
District 116 human resources administrative assistant Karla Schneider, Round Lake Village Elementary School volunteer Shelley Trump and Round Lake High School teacher Charles Adkins Jr. recently were named winners of the Illinois State Board of Education's Those Who Excel Award for the 2011-12 academic year.
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In its 37th year, the Those Who Excel program honors those who've made significant contributions in private and public elementary and high schools. Officials said it's believed the three District 116 recipients are the first in at least 10 years.
Superintendent Constance Collins said it's important to celebrate success at the school system. Submitting nominees for the Those Who Excel program was a step in that direction.
"When I came to the district, I noticed we weren't participating in this program," said Collins, who became superintendent in 2010 as part of a special state finance authority's decision to return District 116 to local control.
All three winners received hugs from Collins and District 116 board President Nanci Radford, as well as their names on a plaque. Collins noted there is room for many more names on the plaque for Those Who Excel recipients.
"I'm just glad I could share it with my daughter and my son," Schneider said.
Nominating documents submitted to the state for Trump lauded her for sponsoring many community fundraisers benefiting an arts program for the Village Elementary students from kindergarten through fifth grade. She's raised at least $6,000 to pay professional, nationally known artists to in classrooms.
Moreover, Trump has purchased materials and crafted art lessons for the pupils.
"The world of art was opened by this volunteer," states the nominating document. "Were it not for Mrs. Trump, there would be no curriculum in this area. Her hard work and diplomacy in working with the staff has been appreciated by the staff and students for the past six years."
Schneider was lauded for her professional, humble demeanor and frequently cheering students at school events. She quickly gets answers to questions, delivers results and is considered a role model for employees at District 116's administration headquarters.
"Karla makes a positive difference in our district," says her nominating form. "She knows everyone's name and makes you feel known, valued and inspired."
Adkins was praised for helping to create a double-period mathematics course at Round Lake High designed as a way to help struggling students. Round Lake High Principal Kurt Sinclair wrote that he's aware of how hard Adkins works to educate pupils there.
"Being a teacher is more than just delivering the curriculum in a classroom," Sinclair wrote. "It's being able to create a desire for learning, for understanding and for self-improvement in those around you."
Collins said Adkins is eligible for Illinois' teacher of the year award by virtue of his Those Who Excel recognition.