Former District 25 school board member remembered for passion for learning
Susan Preissing, who merged her passions for reading and service with a 12-year tenure on the Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 Board of Education, died Friday, after an eight-week battle with COVID-19.
The Arlington Heights resident was 56.
"She had a lifelong passion for learning," said her husband, Joseph. "From a young age, she loved to read and lost herself in books."
Preissing achieved a successful career in insurance, first at American Family Insurance and ultimately as vice president of commercial lines at the Rockwood Company.
At the same time, she was immersed in her children's lives and their activities, as a volunteer, coach and religious education teacher.
While growing up in Arlington Heights, Preissing attended Dryden Elementary School. When raising her own family, Preissing and her husband settled in the same neighborhood served by Dryden and her three children attended the school.
As a student at Dryden, Preissing was one of the first students in its first and second grade multi-age classroom, and she wanted that same innovative curriculum approach for her own children.
"Her desire to be on the board was to help guide its curriculum," said her husband, who added that she particularly was driven to ensure that all students had access to a rigorous education, whether they were in the gifted program or not.
Preissing was elected to the board in 2003, and within a year of joining she was elected by her colleagues to serve as an officer. Over the next 12 years, she would serve as secretary, vice president and president of the board (2010-2011) before stepping down in 2015.
"Susan was passionate about student achievement -- all students' achievement," said Rich Olejniczak, who served with Preissing near the end of her term. "She also had the pulse of the parents. She was constantly in touch with parents groups and the PTA and made sure that parents felt they had a voice."
District 25 includes seven grade schools and two junior high schools, serving more than 5,000 students.
Besides her husband, Preissing is survived by her children, Andrew, Alison and Alexander, as well as her parents, Robert and Marilyn Gorski, and a sister, Roberta (Robert) Holden.
Visitation will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, at Glueckert Funeral Home, and again from 10 a.m. until an 11 a.m. funeral Mass Friday at Our Lady of the Wayside Church, both in Arlington Heights.