M. Lynn Barkley bid farewell this week to Grayslake Elementary District 46, where the educator donned several hats in her long career.
Along with her job as principal of Avon Center School in Round Lake Beach, Barkley has been District 46's second-ranking administrator as assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and assessment. She also has been the district's Freedom of Information Act officer.
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In her emotional goodbye at Wednesday's school board meeting, Barkley announced she's leaving after 17 years to become human resources director for Hawthorn Elementary District 73 in Vernon Hills. She said she appreciates the trust District 46 parents place in teachers and others to educate their children.
"I want to thank our Parent Teacher Organizations, who work countless hours to provide the needs the district can't provide to our children," she added.
Others on Barkley's thank-you list included teachers, curriculum assistant Shawna Desecki, board members and District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll. She said words can never express her gratitude for the role Correll has had in her career and the partnership they formed.
"We spent more time together than we did with our families," Barkley told Correll. "And I know that for a fact. Thank you for believing in me, challenging me to always do my best and giving me the confidence (at work). She would always say, 'Here we go.'"
Barkley's previous jobs at District 46 included classroom assistant and curriculum director. She was one of five Lake County educators to receive the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year Award in 2005, with her nomination citing her warm personality and ability to bond with parents.
Hawthorn District 73 officials said Barkley will start there Monday as the human resources director.
District 46 board member Karen Weinert said it'll be difficult to replace Barkley. However, there are 40 to 50 outside candidates already vying to become Avon Center School's principal, plus some on staff at the district, Correll said.
"Obviously, we have big shoes to fill," she said.
Correll will act as Avon Center School's principal, in addition to her superintendent duties, until Barkley's permanent replacement is hired.