New District 15 superintendent reviving back-to-school tradition

New Palatine Township Elementary District 15 Superintendent Laurie Heinz is reviving a beginning-of-the-school-year event that'll involve all employees, instead of just teachers, and feature a prominent guest speaker.

At least 1,000 district employees are expected Monday for the gathering at Harper College's Foglia Foundation Health and Recreation Center in Palatine.

The featured speaker will be DeEtta Jones, who for 25 years has guided people and organizations through the process of fundamental transformation. She's expected to address issues such as equity, diversity and inclusion.

"It's everybody's responsibility to be equitable, to make sure we're inclusive of all kids," Heinz said. "It's not just the responsibility of the teachers, but every employee when they interact with the students or when they interact with one another."

Heinz remembered attending all-staff sessions at Winston Campus in Palatine when John Conyers was District 15's superintendent, but the back-to-school events faded after he retired in 2003. She worked as an assistant principal at Winston Campus from 1998 to 2002

Kerry Wilson, principal of Plum Grove Junior High School in Rolling Meadows, said she's looking forward to Monday's session. There's been nothing like it in her 12 years at the district.

"Everybody needs to feel welcome and everybody needs to feel important," Wilson said. "That's why we're one district."

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