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posted: 11/6/2017 8:52 AM

District 54 staff go above and beyond for students

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By Andrew DuRoss

#WeAre54

If you follow District 54 or any of our schools on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you have seen this hashtag used time and time again to highlight the individuals in our school community who help us achieve our mission of ensuring student success.

Every school day, parents send 15,000 children to District 54. They trust us to keep their children safe, to educate them and to care for them. This is a trust we don't take lightly. The first step in earning that trust is hiring the best employees. The key traits we look for in the interview process are the beliefs that all children matter and that all students can learn and grow.

Our students come to us from a mix of different backgrounds with a variety of lifetime experiences. We seek out people who are passionate about meeting the needs of all those children.

We want employees who are interested in forming positive relationships with children because, as the adage goes, students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

I believe we are fortunate to have hired employees who go above and beyond every day for the District 54 students.

Some of them are national award winners, such as the staff of Dooley School who recently received the Blue Ribbon School award from the U.S. Department of Education.

Others have been recognized at the state level, including Lincoln Prairie's Mandy Stochl, who received the 2016 Illinois PTA Outstanding Principal of the Year Award, or the more than 100 District 54 employees who have been recognized in the past 10 years as recipients of the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Award.

Some employees share their expertise beyond our district to enhance education for all children. Early Learning Center staff Mindi Turf, Cynthia Dressler, Amanda Waidanz, Beth Farr, Megan Cothroll and Sue Mayernick represented District 54 by presenting at the Sharing A Vision Conference Oct. 27.

They shared with other early childhood practitioners throughout the state how collaboration in professional learning teams allowed us to best prepare our youngest learners for kindergarten and beyond.

And there are so many other employees who simply have committed themselves to supporting our students. Maybe they haven't received awards, but they all deserve recognition for their dedication to the children in our school community.

For example, Fairview paraprofessional Helen Fox created oversized book bags with different themes and materials because she noticed some library books were too large for student backpacks.

Lakeview psychologist Meg Kwak started the Schaumburg Parent University bimonthly classes as an opportunity to help our parents strengthen family relationships and improve parenting skills.

Lincoln Prairie custodian Bill Farley serves as the unofficial school greeter, welcoming students and putting a smile on their faces.

MacArthur teacher Lucrecia Temoczuk has organized a Spanish speech contest for seven years so that native-English and native-Spanish speakers from throughout the district could demonstrate their Spanish language communication skills.

I am grateful to serve as the superintendent to these amazing individuals and their colleagues. Thank you, District 54 staff, for all you do to support and inspire our students and each other.

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