Neighbors in the news: Maine South principal named as a Golden Apple finalist
• Maine South High School Principal Ben Collins was named a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership finalist.
Collins has been the principal at Maine South since the 2017-18 school year and was the Maine West assistant principal for Teaching and Learning for three years prior to leading Maine South.
The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school, who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth.
The award winner will be named later this spring.
Among the many accomplishments under his leadership at Maine South, Collins has implemented significant belonging, equity, diversity and inclusion strategies, including the formation of a building equity team, student listening sessions and dedicated staff training; building equitable classroom and athletic spaces; improved parental engagement and communications; oversaw improvements to new curricular programming; and began standards-based grading for all departments.
During his time, Maine South earned a Blue Ribbon School Award from the U.S. Department of Education and was named a Special Olympics National Unified School.
• Christina Dippold, a Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep counselor, was honored by Waukegan to College for her passion and commitment for helping first-generation students. The award was presented at the organization's second annual Education Appreciation Event March 6 in Waukegan.
"We can always count on her to provide us with student transcripts, collaborate on course selection and share information about students with one another in our 'it takes a village' approach to support our first-Gen students," said Laura Rios, program director of Waukegan to College.
Dippold was honored along with James Gillespie, a seventh grade science teacher at Abbott Middle School, and Amanda Patti, Waukegan Public Schools Area District superintendent. All three received a special award for their close partnership with Waukegan to College over the past years.
• The Prospect Heights School District 23 board of education has named Betsy Ross School principal Craig Curtis as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, effective July 1.
Curtis has served as principal of Ross for 11 years. Prior to that, he was an assistant principal in North Berwyn School District 98 for two years, and an elementary education teacher for eight years before that.
"Dr. Curtis has a strong background in all subject areas and has proved his leadership abilities and dedication to the equity of all students," said Don Angelaccio, District 23 superintendent.
"He has cultivated a positive school culture, facilitated strong professional development and developed schoolwide programs that are responsive to the needs of all students."
Curtis replaces Amy Zaher, who has taken a superintendent position in another district.
• Lavelle Law, Schaumburg, shareholder Steven Migala was elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce.
Migala focuses much of his practice at Lavelle Law representing banks, businesses and their owners, with respect to mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate and commercial lending matters. He serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission in the city of Elgin after serving in a similar role in Streamwood.
"Steve will be a tremendous asset to the Elgin Area Chamber board," said Lavelle Law Managing Partner Ted McGinn. "His business acumen and experience with financing issues, coupled with his deep knowledge of business law, make him an ideal candidate to serve a robust business community like the Elgin area."
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