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posted: 4/22/2013 3:31 PM

Dist. 300 announces nominees for awards

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Submitted by District 300 Foundation

The District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence recently announced this year's nominees for the Distinguished Educator and Distinguished School Employee awards. This is the inaugural year for the D300 Distinguished School Employee of the Year award program.

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By annually honoring a District 300 classroom educator who best meets the criteria for the Distinguished Educator of the Year, it is the hope that the excellence that exists in many of our classrooms will be advanced.

The educator must have at least five years of District 300 teaching experience and be at least five years from anticipated retirement. In addition, the educator should display innovative techniques of instruction and motivation of learners that maximize student achievement. By example, the educator should inspire colleagues to employ innovative techniques and best practices. The educator should display a willingness to share her/his expertise that leads colleagues down the path toward exemplary performance. Also, the educator should demonstrate through daily practice, an understanding of the needs of learners and what it takes to bring them to high levels of achievement.

The Distinguished Educator nominees are:

• Rebecca Hendriksen, a writing and reading teacher at Golfview Elementary School, 7 years experience. Member of LEAD;

• Stephanie Kouri, English teacher at Dundee-Crown High School, 5 years experience. Awarded DCHS Rookie of the Year. Member of the Illinois Education Association, National Education Association and LEAD;

• Margaret Dill-Lentz, special education and art teacher at Jacobs High School, 24 years of teaching experience. Member of the National Education Association and LEAD;

• Jennifer O'Donnell, orchestra teacher at Lakewood School, 7 years experience. Awards: Mr. Holland's Opus, National Association of Music Merchants, Top Community for Music Education. Member of American String Teachers Association, National Association for Music Education, and Illinois Music Educators Association

• Letisha Pena, fourth-grade teacher at Meadowdale School, 6 years experience. Published in Michigan Reading Journal. Member of the National Education Association and IRC.

• Morgan Szymonik, English teacher at Hampshire Middle School, 11 years experience. Awarded National Board Certification.

By annually honoring a District 300 employee who best meets the criteria of the School Employee of the Year award, it is hoped that such excellence will serve as an inspirational example.

The nominee must be assigned to one or more of the district's schools in a position that is not applicable to the Distinguished Educator Award. The nominee must have at least three years of District 300 service and be at least three years from anticipated retirement. The nominee should display professional excellence, innovativeness, dedication, and/or any other quality that contributes toward an enhanced/enriched District 300 student learning experience. By example the nominee should inspire colleagues to work toward the same level of high performance. In addition, the nominee should display a willingness to share her/his expertise that leads colleagues down the path toward exemplary performance. The nominee should demonstrate through daily practice, an understanding of the needs of learners in his/her area of job responsibility.

The nominees for School Employee of the Year are:

• Ron Biallas, custodian at Jacobs High School, 17.5 years. Awards: Cooperative Work Experience Certificate of Appreciation, 2011 Principal's Award. Member D300 PBIS program and Eagle Pride Advisory Committee;

• Telesforo Contreras, custodian at Westfield Community School, 13 years. Known for keeping his building in brand new condition and paying close attention to special needs of students.

• Tim Loversky, principal at Lakewood Elementary School, 13 years. Awards: Voices Courageous Leadership Award, Northern Kane Charter School Service Award, Western DuPage Special Recreation Association Member of National SAM Innovation Project, American Association School Administrators.

• Viviana Perez-Morace, English as a Second Language paraprofessional at Dundee-Crown High School, 7 years. Known for unwavering positivity and forward thinking.

• Matilde Ramon, secretary at Golfview Elementary School, 8 years. Known for positive role model for staff and students.

The foundation congratulates all the nominees for this distinguished award nomination and invites all District 300 employees and community members to join them on Tuesday, April 30 at the Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills, starting promptly at 4:30 p.m. to show their support and appreciation for their outstanding efforts.

The winner of the D300 Foundation Distinguished Educator and Distinguished School Employee of the Year will be announced at the award banquet on April 30. In addition, the foundation will announce the recipients of the 2013-14 Innovation and Large Project Grants.

The foundation's mission is to enhance and extend learning opportunities in all district schools. Since its founding in 2002, it has raised well over $500,000 for District 300 schools and its students. The foundation focuses on four areas of impact: literacy, performing and fine arts, science and technology and student leadership. Money for the foundation is raised through corporate partnerships, private donations and foundation events.

To purchase your awards banquet tickets, and learn more about the foundation and past educational project grants, visit

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