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Awards & Recognitions

2015 Phys Ed Award Photo

Dr. Michael Amadei and Anne Berenak display a Blue Ribbon School banner that will grace the walls of the ICS gymnasium. The banner was a part of the winners’ package from the IAHPERD.

Iroquois Teachers Recognized for PE Blue Ribbon School Program

Anne Berenak, William Snyder, and Dr. Michael Amadei, Iroquois Community School (ICS), were recently honored by the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD).

ICS was one of five schools awarded a Physical Education Blue Ribbon School Award. Physical Education teachers have evaluative criteria available to use in developing quality programs. The criteria reflects the standards established by the physical education profession and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Areas of focus include curriculum, instruction, enrichment, facilities, equipment, finance, administration, medical, and safety.

ICS’ curriculum is fitness-based and allows flexibility to incorporate developmentally appropriate activities. ICS is fortunate to have a new gym floor, a new traverse climbing wall, and new glass backboards. Facilities accommodate the curricular needs to ensure effective teaching. Berenak and Snyder are National Board Certified Teachers in Physical Education. They regularly attend conferences, workshops, and meetings to improve instruction. Collaboration is a key component of the program.

Top 30 Education Technology Leaders Recognized by the Center for Digital Education

Jennie Magiera, Chief Technology Officer

Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 17, 2015 – Thirty education and technology leaders across America were awarded the Center for Digital Education’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers award. This accolade honors K-20 education leaders who are morphing the learning landscape by utilizing innovative technologies to enhance the overall learning environment. The 2015 award winners were selected based on their efforts to improve education through effective implementation of technology rich solutions; their impact on student outcomes; and their overall initiative, creativity and leadership skills. Digital advancements recognized include:

  • Using data to understand and address statewide education challenges, including increasing educator quality and retention
  • Closing the connectivity gap through creative measures such as outfitting buses with Wi-Fi routers, parking router-equipped buses in low-connectivity neighborhoods in the evening, partnering with a cellular/cable vendor to provide low-cost Internet service and coordinating with local businesses to provide students with free Internet access at their establishment
  • Monitoring public social media posts to ensure school and student safety
  • Developing a totally immersive and responsive learning environment equipped with mobile furniture, LCD screens, wireless projection, digital whiteboard painted walls, portable whiteboards, cases of tablets and more

“Our 2015 Top 30 award winners represent thought leaders and innovators in higher education, K-12 and the education nonprofit community, which offers sustenance and influence to the field of education,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director of the Center for Digital Education. “I am honored to facilitate such an amazing community of leaders and thrilled to welcome our new award winners.”

The Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers: See full profiles at

About the Center for Digital Education
The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insight to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century.

District 62 Recognized for Outstanding School PR Videos and Publications

District 62 staff joined school communications professionals, superintendents, school boards, and other school leaders from across the state last Friday, September 18 at the Illinois School Public Relations Association’s (INSPRA) Annual Communications Contest and Golden Achievement Awards luncheon. District 62, which has entered and won eight years in a row, was the recipient of two awards.

The 2015 Illinois Education Association Bob Haisman Teacher of the Year

> Watch on iPad    (Time 00:02:10)
Audiovisual: Dan Chianelli, and Pablo Sands

An Award of Excellence in the Audio/Visual Category was won by Dan Chianelli and Dr. Paul Hertel for the WhyTeach62/Katie Koll video. Dr. Ellen Swanson, Mindy Ward, and Julie Nykiel won an Award of Excellence for the 2014-2015 Studentand Parent Handbook.

More than 115 entries were submitted in ten categories. Entries were judged against criteria of excellence, and only those receiving top scores in a variety of areas received awards. National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) chapter members from Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi. Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin served as judges.

The mission of INSPRA is to strengthen support for Illinois public schools and improve education for students through responsible public relations. Workshops and programs are held throughout the year providing opportunities for members to learn and grow in their craft. The awards ceremony is the highlight of the year.

To learn more about INSPRA, visit or Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Awards & Recognitions

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Those Who Excel - 2015
Nelson Gray (Recognition), Kazimiera Kobylarczyk (Recognition), Tech, Tech Baby-Catherine Hanley & Dorothy Henson (Recognition), Debbie Hanstad (Recognition) & Sheila Bellizzi (Meritorious Service)
Those Who Excel - 2009
Wendy DeVitto (Recognition), Stephanie Duckmann (Merit), Mary Fink (Recognition), Stephanie Hajdu (Merit), Janice Rashid (Recognition), and Dana Yala (Merit)
Those Who Excel - 2008
Helen Galvan (Merit), Cathy Sears (Recognition), Barbara Guill (Recognition), Asia Gurney (Recognition), Colleen Harrold (Merit), and Brenda Murphy (Merit)
Those Who Excel - 2007
Mary Ellen Bleeden, Paul Piszkiewicz, Joan Abrams, Marcia Sciavone, and Tim Henson

Illinois Association of School Administrators
2013 Illinois Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Jane L. Beyer Westerhold

Illinois Association of School Boards
2012 School Board Governance Recognition
Award of Merit
2012 Educational Environments Exhibition
South Elementary School
Orchard Place Elementary School

Award of Excellence
Special Purpose Category

Milagros Bravo, Monserrat Cabrera-Landini, Celia Garcia-Fernandez, Flor Marchisotto, Christine Trujillo of the Second Language Department
Community Relations Director Mindy Ward, and Julie Nykiel of Nykiel Designs for a Second Language Programs brochure
Awards of Merit

2011-2012 Student & Parent Handbook
Handbook Committee – Brad Voehringer, Denise Fernandez, Helen Galvan, Sylvia Ortega, Mindy Ward and Julie Nykiel

Response to Intervention Brochure
RtI Committee – Catherine Borge, Dr. Janice Rashid, Kathy Ryan, Noelle Schwartz, Jean Wilson, Mindy Ward and Julie Nykiel

April Showers of Thanks

Celebration Honoring District 62 Volunteers and Corporate Partners – Mindy Ward and Julie Nykiel

Japanese Tea Ceremony and Distinguished Volunteer Awards, Special Purpose Publication
2011, Honorable Mention
Shining the Light on our Staff, Special Purpose Publication
2011, Honorable Mention
U62, Branding/Image Package
2011, Honorable Mention
2010-2011 U62
2011, Golden Achievement Award
Master Planning Community Discussions
2009, Golden Achievement Award
Exemplary Public Relations Activity

Family Connections
2009, Honorable Mention
Print Newsletter - External Audience

Gallery 62 Art Exhibit
2008, Golden Achievement Award
Exemplary Public Relations Activity

Shining the Light on our Staff – Staff Recognition
2008, Golden Achievement Award
Exemplary Public Relations Activity

Partners in Education
2008, Honorable Mention
Print Newsletter - External Audience

Cabinet Newsletter
2007, Award of Merit
Electronic Newsletter – Internal Audience

Inside 62
2007, Honorable Mention
Print Newsletter - Internal Audience

2015 Awards

INSPRA 2015 Communications Contest and Golden Achievement Awards

Audio/Video Category Up to 10 Minutes

Dan Chianelli and Dr. Paul Hertel

Calendars and Handbook Category
2014-2015 Student and Parent Handbook

Dr. Ellen Swanson, Mindy Ward and Julie Nykiel
Distinguished Service Awards 2009
Kathy Ryan, Dr. Janice Rashid, Mary Fink,
Wendy DeVitto, Stephanie Duckmann,
Steve Schaefer, Hank Nerwin, Robert Klein,
Mike Lake, John Haupt, and Cliff Hagedorn

Distinguished Service Awards 2008
Brenda Murphy, Tracy Kellerhals,
Don Gierszewicz, Asia Gurney, Helen Galvan,
Mindy Ward, Laura Ellsworth, Chandra Eby, Lourdes Bravo, Lorene Schweig,
Gina Cheeks, Janvi Patel, and Rad Mika

MeLinda Ward
2008, INSPRA Professional of the Year
Board Briefs
2008, Award of Merit
Accentuating the Positive
2008, Award of Merit

Partners in Education
2008, Award of Merit
Print Newsletter - External Audience

Distinguished Service Awards 2008
Paul Piszkiewicz, Mary Ellen Bleeden, Joan Abrams, Marcia Sciavone, and Robert Sanks
Inside 62
2007, Award of Merit
Print Newsletter - Internal Audience

District Website
2007, Award of Excellence
All Audience

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Leon Smaage
Administration Center

777 East Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016-6281