Arlington Heights Elementary School District 25 took time Thursday night to celebrate both the life of a board member who recently died and the career of its retiring superintendent.
The meeting began with a heartfelt memorial to board member Phil Crusius, 57, who died of pancreatic cancer June 3. School board members remembered Crusius with a slideshow and comments that all mentioned his dedication to students, integrity and hard work.
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"He was a good man; he was a family man," fellow board member Rich Oiejniczak said.
Board member Denise Glasgow talked about carpooling to meetings with Crusius when his treatments made it too difficult for him to drive himself. The two were neighbors, and their children went through school together, she said.
Crusius was able to see his son graduate from Rolling Meadows High School the weekend before he died. Glasgow said she was sitting near them, and she saw Crusius give a thumbs-up to his son as he crossed the stage to get his diploma.
District Superintendent Sarah Jerome presented flowers and the name plate for Crusius' seat to his wife Patty, his son, Daniel, and Crusius' mother, all of whom were at the meeting.
A memorial service for Crusius is planned for 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 6, at First United Methodist Church, 1903 E. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights.
The board is moving forward to fill Crusius' seat starting Friday and will be accepting applications through July 1. Board President David Page said they will vote to approve a new member at the July 17 board meeting.
There was another goodbye at the end of the meeting, as Jerome said her farewells to the district. She is retiring at the end of the month after eight years with District 25 and more than 45 years in education.
"I feel proud of the work we've done together," Jerome told the board. "Living in a community where there is support for education is a wonderful thing."
Jerome also mentioned that some of the decisions and issues addressed during her time as superintendent have not been popular with parents.
"Even though the debate around any particular issue sometimes gets relatively heated, it's all under the great umbrella of caring about learning," she said.
Lori Bein, formerly superintendent of Roselle District 12, will take the helm of District 25 starting July 1.