Neighbors in the news

  • Panagiota "Patty" Tzortzis, assistant principal at Algonquin Middle School in Des Plaines

    Panagiota "Patty" Tzortzis, assistant principal at Algonquin Middle School in Des Plaines Courtesy of District 62

  • U.S. Air Force Airman Caleb X. Britton

    U.S. Air Force Airman Caleb X. Britton Courtesy of Joint Hometown News Service

  • Kennedy Venable, a 2019 Elgin High School graduate, who achieved perfect attendance

    Kennedy Venable, a 2019 Elgin High School graduate, who achieved perfect attendance Courtesy of Venable Family

Updated 6/10/2019 7:19 AM

Panagiota "Patty" Tzortzis was named assistant principal at District 62's Algonquin Middle School in Des Plaines. Most recently, Tzortzis was the assistant principal at London Middle School in Wheeling School District 21.

Prior to that, she served as the coordinator of instructional technology and Spanish teacher in Evanston/Skokie School District 65. She also taught Spanish at Deerfield High School and spent a year teaching abroad in Mexico.


"It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be joining the Algonquin Middle School team," said Tzortzis. "I look forward to collaborating with staff, students and families to nurture individual strengths and facilitate social emotional growth, as well as promote academic excellence."

Tzortzis earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education with a major in Spanish from DePaul University in 1993. She went on to earn a master's degree in gifted education from Northeastern Illinois University in 2008, and an additional master's degree in educational leadership from the American College of Education in 2011.

Tzortzis lives in Niles with her daughter Daphne, who attends Maine East High School.

• Marguerite Incardone of Mount Prospect spent this spring interning for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, working behind the scenes in the senator's Capitol Hill office.

The responsibilities of an intern include assisting full-time staff in responding to constituent-related topics, assisting with information inquiries, attending committee and agency hearings and briefings, researching legislative issues and policy questions, and observing floor proceedings.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Incardone is a junior at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, where she studies meteorology and communications. On campus, she is involved with the College Democrats Organization and the school's TV station.

• U.S. Air Force Airman Caleb X. Britton graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Britton, the son of Lamont Britton of South Shore and Ursula and Larry Bailey of Bartlett, is a 2019 graduate of Bartlett High School.

• Barrington resident Rachna Shah, a sophomore at Dartmouth College, was selected as a Dartmouth Stamps Scholar. Shah, an economics major, will use the scholarship to pursue experiential learning on civics education.

"From these experiences, I plan to further develop a cross-partisan youth civics curriculum that I have been working on for the past few years in urban and suburban settings. The curriculum will be adaptable based on setting, topic interests and time constraints," said Shah.


The Dartmouth Stamps Scholars Program was established in 2014 in partnership with the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation to recognize and reward exceptional students who exemplify leadership, perseverance, scholarship, service and innovation.

The most promising students are given an opportunity to design an experiential learning plan to build on or respond to what they've learned in their first few years at Dartmouth.

• Congratulations to Kennedy Venable, a 2019 graduate of Elgin High School, who achieved perfect attendance in all four years of high school. Not only did she take attendance seriously at Elgin High School, Venable did not miss a day of school for the last 10 years while attending school in District U-46.

To show how important attendance was to Venable, she skipped "Senior Skip" day; missed volleyball tournaments in Kentucky with her Club Team; and attended classes when she got poison ivy while in AP environmental class.

Trying to stay focused in her classes was a challenge. "The itching was awful," said Venable. "Calamine lotion only lasts so long."

Attending school every day and doing well was one of Venable's goals. She also achieved an Illinois State Scholar award.

Venable will attend Elgin Community College, where she will play for the Spartans women's volleyball team.

• Submit your 'Neighbors in the News' items to Norrine Twohey at


Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.