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Homewood District 153 staff, volunteers honored with Those Who Excel awards

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) presented 2016 Those Who Excel awards to Homewood District 153 teachers, Churchill Principal Cece Coffey, parent volunteer Terry Keigher and the Citizens for Homewood Schools team.

  The Illinois State Board of Education honored District
  153 staff and volunteers with Those Who Excel Awards.
  Honorees are, from left, Terry Keigher, Anne-Marie
  Knott-Webster, Tracie Moxley, Meg Sweeney, Reilly
  Robertson, Alex Bosch and Cece Coffey.
(Provided photo)

 

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) presented 2016 Those Who Excel awards to Homewood District 153 teachers, Churchill Principal Cece Coffey, parent volunteer Terry Keigher and the Citizens for Homewood Schools team.

The honorees were guests at the annual ISBE-hosted banquet in Springfield on Oct. 22. The Those Who Excel program honors people who have made outstanding contributions to education throughout the state.

Cece Coffey received the Award of Excellence in the administrator category. She has been with the district for 26 years.

In his nomination, Superintendent Dale Mitchell said: “Cece has high expectations for both students and staff. From the building custodians to the teaching staff and assistants. She never lets anyone settle for anything less than their best effort. Most importantly, she does it in a manner that makes people feel supported and appreciated.”

Stephanie Hess, the school psychologist at Willow School, received the Award of Recognition in the student support personnel category. She has been a staff member sine 2012.

“Stephanie has created a school environment that is caring, exciting and respectful. Parents recognize her as someone with whom they can talk openly, who listens and values their opinions and concerns,” said Willow Principal Mary Ann Savage. “She enlists the parents as partners and helps them understand and utilize the tools needed to best help their child.”

Connie Johnson, a first grade teacher at Willow School, received the Award of Merit in the classroom teacher category. She has been a District 153 staff member for 12 years.

Johnson was nominated by her peers – the First Grade Teaching Team – who said: “Connie’s vast knowledge of the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of first graders has made her a leader of our first grade team. Connie is one of the most creative teachers we know, and she makes learning fun for everyone.”

Reilly Robertson, a third grade teacher at Churchill School, received the Award of Recognition in the early career educator category. She has been a teacher since 2012.

Churchill School Principal Coffey said, “From her first days in the classroom, Reilly has demonstrated a maturity and competency rarely seen in a beginning teacher. [Her] classroom is a model of warmth, engagement and efficiency.”

Meg Sweeney, a special education aide at James Hart School, received the Award of Recognition, educational support personnel category. A staff member since 2009, she was recognized by former Millennium School Principal Dave McAtee and colleagues Mary Kay Gardiner and Melanie Mandisodza for providing “a positive environment in which students feel safe to take academic risks. Her calm and supportive presence is a great asset to any classroom.”

Terry Keigher received the Award of Recognition in the community volunteer category. He was nominated for his special efforts as chairman of Citizens for Homewood Schools, the volunteer organization that worked to get the 2016 referendum passed.

The superintendent told the nominating committee: “His passion for the community and school district has always been evident for his own children, but after assuming the role of chair of Citizens for Homewood Schools it was clear that his desires extended to all students. He clearly demonstrated his devotion to all of our district’s children through his sacrifice of time and giving of himself.”

Citizens for Homewood Schools received the Award of Excellence in the team category. Team members were Alex Bosch, Tom Brabec, Jim Collins, Anne Colton, Vito D’Astici, Tom Dockweiler, Steve Johnson, Terry Keigher, Shelly Marks, Tracie Moxley, Nick Quirke, Jason Stamps, Tabitha Stine, Anne-Marie Webster and La’Shone Zinnerman.

The team hosted numerous information sessions and house coffees to get facts about the March 15 referendum before voters. The $9 million bond issue was approved with 80 percent of the vote.

“Their hard work and selfless donation of literally hundreds of hours of time paid off for the school children of District 153. The referendum not only passed, it passed by a very large margin with 80.5 percent of the vote,” said Mitchell in his nomination letter.

 

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