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ISBE recognizes CCSD59 through Those Who Excel Awards

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CCSD59 constantly seeks out ways to provide our students, families, and community with the best educational experience possible. This year, staff members were once again selected to be honored by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) through its Those Who Excel Awards for their service to students.

The annual program honors a variety of educational staff, community members, and volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to elementary and secondary education.

Earlier this month, ISBE announced that Veronica Rodriguez, a fourth and fifth grade dual language teacher at Juliette Low Elementary, has been named the inaugural Illinois Bilingual Teacher of the Year. Over the weekend, seven additional CCSD59 staff members joined her as honorees for the 2021 year.

Please join us in congratulating the following CCSD59 staff members as they receive state-wide recognition for their service.


Paul freedman, forest View elementary
excellence: educational service personnel

“Paul’s dedication radiates beyond his standard tasks and allows him to take on all sorts of jobs not explicitly part of his role. From dressing up like a heart to encourage our students in the Kid’s Heart Challenge to mentoring and connecting with students with behavior challenges while completing his responsibilities, Paul is constantly proving himself to be a consummate professional and a caring soul.”

-Michael Wall, Principal, Forest View Elementary

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lisa browning, friendship junior high
meritorious: early career educator

“Ms. Browning is the type of driven, supportive and empathetic staff that a building leader dreams of having. During this unprecedented time, she offered herself as a resource to any staff member that needed assistance teaching math to their own children during remote learning. Her quest for self-improvement has led her to seek her administrative certification, and she is currently assisting the building administration in a number of areas while also continuing to build her leadership experience and potential. She has already done so much and yet still has wonderful potential. One cannot doubt that her career will be exciting and successful.”

-Bill Timmins, Former Principal, Friendship Junior High

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instructional coaching team, grove junior high

kerry frazier and jackie tausend
meritorious: team

“Moving Jackie and Kerry into the role from the classroom was an easy decision, and their performance has outpaced our already high expectations. It’s hard to overstate their impact on teaching and learning. They have met teachers at their levels of need and comfort to help them give their students more. Staff absolutely trust that Jackie and Kerry have one agenda: to help staff improve. Non-judgmental help is crucial to the work of a coach.”  

-Phil Stevens, Assistant Principal, Grove Junior High

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elizabeth loverde, robert frost elementary
meritorious: classroom teacher

“Mrs. Loverde understands child development and she is also inspired by her young students and how they learn which makes her a great educator. Upon entering her first grade classroom the first thing you will notice is how inherently ‘themselves’ the students are with both the teacher and each other. If students are not participating in a lesson with Mrs. Loverde, they are engaged in high-quality tasks. These tasks are thoughtfully designed to allow all students to participate and share their thoughts, questions, and ideas with one another. To put it simply, Mrs. Loverde is simply ‘tuned in’ to her students and allows them to flourish as their authentic selves.”

-Susan Savage, Principal, Robert Frost Elementary

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maureen mcabee

meritorious: administrator

“Mrs. McAbee was a highly respected and loved principal in CCSD59, especially at Salt Creek Elementary where she spent 12 years leading a diverse school community. Moving to the District Office in 2013, she quickly demonstrated her strength as an instructional leader in serving as the Executive Director of English Learner Programs for just one year before being promoted to the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction position in which she currently serves. Her passion for student learning, incredible work ethic and drive, and desire to ensure student success for life deserve recognition as she has exemplified how a leader can make a difference for kids, staff, and families.”

-Tom Luedloff, Associate Superintendent, CCSD59

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christine orozco, devonshire elementary
meritorious: student support personnel

Christine is truly one of the most caring and dedicated teachers that I have ever had the opportunity to work with during my educational career. One of her primary goals as an LRC Director is to foster a love of reading in our students. She continues to find new and innovative ways to share books with her students and to get them excited about the reading process. She is also a valued member of this team for her unique problem solving skills and for the thoughtful and supportive way that she works with other staff members.”

-Randy Steinkamp, Principal, Devonshire Elementary

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dr. erin vincent, brentwood elementary
meritorious: student support personnel

“Dr. Vincent has an abundance of grace within her that manifests in so many ways. Her days begin with daily check-ins with students who have shared how starting and ending their day with her is what helps them to be successful at Brentwood. She is a cheerleader for her colleagues with a tremendously positive impact on our school culture. She is also a champion of practicing mindfulness and has brought these practices to staff and students alike.”

-Dr. Kimberly Barrett, Principal, Brentwood Elementary

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