The Lincoln-Way High School District 210 Board of Education recognized 11 outstanding employees on July 26, honoring them for making Lincoln-Way a special place for students.
The employees, who included a paraprofessional, secretary, maintenance worker, two counselors, two social workers and four teachers, were honored during a special recognition ceremony held prior to the July 26 school board meeting.
“This recognition program is designed to recognize teachers, staff, educational support staff personnel, administrators and school board members for outstanding contributions in helping make Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 a special place for students,” stated Dr. Lawrence A. Wyllie superintendent.
The employees were nominated by their peers.
This year’s Destination Excellence recipients are:
Janet Reis, guidance counselor, L-W Central
Janet’s passion for helping students is evident in the time and effort she puts in to make sure students have the necessary tools and resources to make educated decisions about their future after high school. This year, Janet arranged to have 120 college representatives from all over the country participate in a College and Career Fair at Lincoln-Way Central. Sophomores, juniors and seniors met with the college representatives during their advisory periods to obtain valuable information about each college and university. In addition, she devoted a lot of time – as she does every year -- organizing Central’s Community Scholarship Night to maximize scholarship opportunities for students. Thanks to Janet, 160 scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors this past year.
Parents, community members and college representatives often call Central’s PPS office just to comment on how wonderful Janet Reis is to work with, said PPS Director Beth McNamara, who nominated Janet for the award. Colleagues also value her experience and knowledge, often turning to her for advice on how to handle tough situations.
“Her actions and decisions are grounded in the school’s mission, always doing what is best for our Lincoln-Way Central students,” said McNamara.
Alyssa Cannon, guidance counselor, L-W Central
Alyssa goes above and beyond the call of duty for students and staff members at Lincoln-Way Central. This year, she arranged to have Katie McGuine, community liaison with Linden Oaks, present the Signs of Suicide (SOS) to our school community. She began by leading small-group discussions with all freshmen during their Health and PE classes. She educated parents during an SOS Parent Night and shared valuable information with faculty and staff members during a series of Lunch and Learn programs. Alyssa even arranged for Katie to train Central’s Link Crew leaders so they could serve as valuable resources for their peers during times of need.
Alyssa’s dedication and willingness to go the extra mile shown through when one of Central’s PPS counselors had to take some time off unexpectedly. “She did not miss a beat,” said PPS Director Beth McNamara, who nominated Alyssa for the Destination Excellence award. “She came in early, stayed late and worked extremely hard to ensure that our student’s needs were met and her team member could confidently focus on what mattered most at the time knowing that things were properly covered at school.”
One of the best qualities Alyssa exhibits is her sincerity. She does things because her heart is in the right place and truly cares about making a difference.
Deb Galvan, administrative assistant, L-W Central
Deb, who is on the frontline when it comes to phone calls from parents and community members, is instrumental in establishing a warm and positive school climate at Lincoln-Way Central. Through her positive interactions with students, staff and community every moment of the day, Deb has set a kind, welcoming tone for Central.
“Whenever I walk in our office, I feel heard, valued and important,” said Music Department Chair Stacy Williams-Jackson, who nominated Deb for the award.
“Everyone succeeds when placed in an environment conducive to solving problems and offering support,” she added. “Mrs. Galvan is a living template of positive, resourceful support. We are so very lucky to have her here at Central.”
Marc Hucek, Career and Tech teacher, L-W Central and L-W East
Marc Hucek epitomizes Lincoln-Way’s mission statement of promoting academic and social growth in our students. Academically, he has the ability to push kids to their full potential through the use of positive feedback and constructive criticism – as evidenced by their high placement in local competitions for welding, woodworking and horticulture. Socially, Marc has created an environment of teamwork and camaraderie within his classroom and lab settings. Each student knows the routine and their role within his class, which allows for his daily lessons, plant sales and FFA involvement to run flawlessly.
Marc recently finished a very lengthy grant request through State Farm as a means of improving the greenhouse at Central. If he receives the grant, he intends to use the $100,000 to remodel and improve the greenhouse. His goal is to have his students increase their production of fruits and vegetables so that they can be donated to local food pantries.
“Marc’s popularity among our students is apparent,” said Katie Bingham, who nominated Hucek for the Destination Excellence Award. She credit’s Marc’s nurturing and approachable personality, strong work ethic and enthusiastic approach to lessons for rising enrollment numbers in the career and tech classes that he teaches.
“His impact on students is evident by the number of students who volunteer their time before and after school, on weekends, and even during the summer to assist him in tending to the greenhouse,” said Katie.
Dale Sandoval, art teacher, L-W East
Dale has an excellent rapport with students and staff. As an educator in an elective area, he recruits students to take multiple sections of photography and drawing every semester. It’s clear that students take his class because he helps them view the world “through a different lens.” He uses his wit and positive attitude to motivate students and to encourage his colleagues. He goes out of his way to make personal connections and to inquire into someone’s life. On a daily basis, Dale offers advice and support to his colleagues. He offers support when someone has a bad day and suggestions when someone encounters a problem in the classroom.
“Dale shares his experiences from his years of teaching to encourage us when we get discouraged,” said science teacher Julie Widinski. “He never judges but offers constructive criticism.”
Student Nicole Radkay credits the art teacher with giving her the confidence to draw and to share them with others. “I can always trust him to get an honest opinion,” she said, “and he helps me correct my drawings to make them look 10 times better. Mr. Sandoval taught me about not being afraid of drawing something out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.”
“Mr. Sandoval is an amazing teacher,” agreed classmate Casey Stanevicius. “He always has something fun planned -- even if it’s reviewing skills.”
Laurie Knick, Betsy VandenBerg, Lynn Hnetkovsky and Christine Ziegenfuss
Teachers Betsy VandenBerg and Lynn Hnetkovsky as well as social workers Laurie Knick and Christine Ziegenfuss have hearts of gold. They go out of their way each year to make sure some of our local families who are struggling to make ends meet have a Merry Christmas. They organize a collection effort at each school every November, working with students, faculty and staff members to collect toys, clothing, food and other necessities for dozens of local families in need.
Laurie, Betsy, Lynn and Christine not only manage to spread a little holiday cheer to families who have fallen on hard times, but teach our students a valuable lesson in compassion and helping others.
“It makes you feel good that so many people are donating and giving,” said Lincoln-Way East student Kayley Smetana. “It makes us feel relieved that they’re going to have a Christmas,” added classmate Megan Win. “If we didn’t do this, they wouldn’t have a Christmas.”
Dan Schaddelee, maintenance, L-W East
In order for students to attain enriching experiences, they need a functional building. Dan’s constant energy and skills help make that happen. He seems to be everywhere, addressing a myriad of issues – whether they be in the gymnasium, teacher’s lounge, office or hallway. And no matter what the task, he’s always smiling.
“Dan’s attitude toward his work and our school is always positive,” said Tom Anstett, who chairs the English department at Lincoln-Way East. “This rubs off on our students. He’s professional and will go beyond the minimum to do a job well. This is not always noticed, but these ‘unsung heroes’ are the ones who make our school achieve what it does.”
Dawn Shanahan, paraprofessional, L-W East
Dawn is an asset to the educational environment at Lincoln-Way East. She puts in extra time before and after school to assist teachers, students and volunteers to water plants in the school’s greenhouse on weekends. Her efforts directly benefit students in the Functional LifeSkills program at East. She is kind, patient and understanding with students. It is evident that she loves her job. She is a model employee and a person that others strive to become.
“Dawn’s personality and positive disposition light up the classroom,” said Megan Wells from the special services department at East. “She makes the students feel safe, happy and enthusiastic in their learning environment. She anticipates student behavior concerns and is able to diffuse situations that potentially could become disruptive. She is an asset to the educational environment, and our school is a better place because of her presence.”
Wyllie thanked each Destination: Excellence award recipient for their extra contributions to maximizing the academic and social growth of District 210’s young people.
“I am proud to present you with the Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 Destination: Excellence Award,” he told each one as members of the Board of Education shook their hands.
The Destination Excellence recognition program began in 2002 and has become a special tradition for the Lincoln-Way High School District 210 Board of Education.