District 81 Superintendent

District 81 Superintendent

To engage constituents and provide open and transparent communication.

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Kennedy Students Show Pride at Memorial Day Concert!!

May 15, 2015

I am so proud of our Kennedy students who gave an outstanding performance at the Memorial Day Concert! They sang beautifully, and I know much practice went into performing their best for the many parents and community members in the audience. I also have to mention how patriotic our students looked dressed in their finest red, white and blue for the occassion!

Thank you to Director Mrs. Audrey Christensen, Mr. Andrew Norte, Mrs. Kartsimas, Mrs. Maglione and the first grade and multi-age classroom teachers for their hard work. I would also like to thank Mayor Barbara Piltaver, Trustee and American Legion member Russell Klug, School Resource Officer Tom Henn, and Mr. Steve Selsky and the American Legion of Schiller Park, who shared their morning with us.  It was a wonderful tribute to the brave Americans who lost their lives in service to our great country.

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Action-Packed Week for District 81!

May 1, 2015

This past week has been such a whirlwind of activity for many of us, and I don’t think I will ever be able to catch you up on all of the news before we head into the season of our end of the year celebrations and graduations!  To start, I would like to welcome our newest Board of Education member Jeremy Hargus, and congratulate President MaryAnn Desecki and Richard Flanagan for their reelection to the school board.  They have proven themselves to be champions for children time and time again!  I am grateful to work with board members who are so passionate about education, especially the education of the students in our amazing school district!

I spent yesterday with about 15,000 others at the All State Arena at WE Day Illinois! The details of this day can be found in the news release on our homepage, by clicking on the link below. In short, it was a day to celebrate youth who are giving back to the community and making change in the world.  It was an event that has inspired me as Superintendent to do everything I can to make sure our students continue on their path of offering their time and talents to those in need!


I’m sorry to say that I had to miss last night’s Band Concert. I’m disappointed because these shows always make me so proud and I look forward to going each year! On behalf of the Board of Education, Secretary Tina Ewanio attended the concert and shared  her thoughts with me:  “By far this was the best band concert I have attended. They did an outstanding job.  Parents, teachers, and students should be so proud of themselves tonight.”

Finally, today I am ending my day with a win for the Cubs! I went with the students of Washington School to see the Cubs beat the Brewers, and it was a fantastic time!

These pictures are only a few of the many good moments made in School District 81!

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Teachers Focus on Student Achievement Today and Every Day!

April 7, 2015

Today our teachers returned from their Spring Break with enthusiasm and energy! Teacher institute days are an important part of the school improvement process and a critical component of the Vision 20/20 outline.  Today teachers across District 81 came together with educators from other districts to strengthen their skills and expertise in NWEA MAP, a valuable assessment tool used to evaluate students’ progress.  The District was happy to host this training, and I am proud that our teachers use MAP at such a high level.  Other groups of teachers were collaborating on the 1:1 computing initiative, generating much dialogue and excitement on how moving to a 1:1 environment will enhance all aspects of teaching and learning!  Special Education teachers also met together today and received training that will help enhance programming.  This time together to collaborate was well-spent, and I look forward to sharing more with you about the important district initiatives that impact student achievement!



Congratulations Recently Tenured Teachers!!!

March 23, 2015

This past week the Board of Education approved the tenure of a group of dedicated and talented teachers in District 81! I would like to take this opportunity to recognize these amazing professionals. I thank them for the energy, creativity and professionalism that they bring to our schools each and every day. This is true of ALL the educators in our district, and the entire community is blessed to have such committed individuals teaching our students and influencing them in such positive ways!! I applaud your accomplishments and am honored to work alongside you!

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Music Booster Pancake Breakfast

March 15, 2015

It is no surprise the District 81 Music Boosters did another outstanding job hosting the pancake breakfast today. My appreciation goes out to the countless volunteers who spent endless hours planning and preparing for the event! It gives me such joy to spend time enjoying these events with our children and families. I tried to capture as many moments as possible but is difficult to be a guest and a photographer at the same time! Enjoy the rest of this beautiful Sunday! 🙂

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Dr. Seuss Would Be Proud of District 81!!

February 27, 2015

I had such a blast as a guest at our annual Dr. Seuss Night!! I was thrilled to be able to visit so many storytellers, and see firsthand how much our students and their families love this amazing tradition we have in our district.  I wish I would have had time to visit each room because I know there were so many people dedicated to making this magical night happen for our kids.  Please browse these pictures to see just some of the many volunteers who took the time to read books, greet guests, dress in costumes, and those who came out in the cold with their children to join us!

A special thank you goes to all of Kennedy School for the hours of hard work this takes to plan. I  loved to  see former and current students, parents, and the ABC Parent Group getting involved in Dr. Seuss Night!  I would also like to thank the village trustees, commissioner, fire and police departments, Mayor of Schiller Park, and the other Village of Schiller Park representatives and residents who came out to be part of the evening.  I know they like to participate because it’s so much fun for them, and not work, but thank you to the Board of Education Members Allison Downs, Rich Flanagan, and Mary Ann Desecki for volunteering, and Member Tina Ewanio for sharing in the fun with her family as a guest!

Each one of you contributes to the amazing energy we have in School District 81! Thank you for all of your efforts!  I know many great memories were made last night and I was happy to share in them with all of you.

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A Fun Monday Packed with Learning and Good Times!

February 23, 2015

The experiences that I had today in our schools are perfect examples of how educators go above and beyond every day to make learning fun and engaging for their students.  Each year our teachers and administrators arrange for visitors to spend time with our students, and they always look forward to it.  Today we had the honor of a visit from  Illinois’ 10th District Senator, John G. Mulroe.  Washington students had fun coming up with proposed legislation and acting out how a bill becomes a law.  They had a thoughtful and lively debate session facilitated by Senator Mulroe, and I was very proud of them!

The fourth and fifth graders also had the opportunity to meet published author, PJ Hartenaus, who spoke to the students about finding their own stories to tell as writers.  They have been reading The Belden Boy Series at school, so hearing directly from the author on how she created these stories was a great opportunity!

Finally, I had the pleasure of being at the right place at the right time at Lincoln Middle School today!  Mr. Amsler and some very brave teachers were good sports, and let the students throw pies at them to raise money for the Luekemia and Lymphoma Society.  I was lucky enough to buy the last pie sold for the cause, and couldn’t resist throwing that pie at Mr. Amsler!

There are countless special experiences that happen each week that are special to your child, and I am so grateful to be part of them!

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February 13, 2015

Just when I think it cannot get any better, it does! Last night’s performance or Aladdin was remarkable. What I enjoyed most was seeing how much fun the performers were having. There was no stress, there was just joy and excitement, and I was blessed to be in the audience. As a result of this experience the children created a memory that will last a lifetime, and I could not be more proud of the dedicated professionals who made it happen. I am so thrilled that District 81 provides stellar learning experiences in all areas of our students’ development.

On another topic and somewhat related, several board members and I attended a meeting Wednesday evening at Leyden High School. The topic of discussion was Vision 20/20. Vision 20/20 is a partnership between statewide organizations that came together to develop a blue print to improve public education in Illinois. Through the Vision 20/20 process, 4 areas have become the central focus going forward. The areas of focus are highly effective educators, 21st century learning, shared accountability, and equitable and adequate funding. http://illinoisvision2020.org/wp-content/files/Vision_2020_Executive_Summary.pdf

When reviewing the priority of 21st century learning, Brent Clark, President of IASA, challenged districts to think of an experience we provide our students outside of the core subject areas that we are proud of. I could not help but think of that challenge when I watched the students perform last night. The Board members who attended the Leyden meeting with me were also at the play last night and I am certain they made similar connections. I extend my sincere appreciation to Board Members Ewanio, Desecki, Downs and Flanagan for joining me at the Vision 20/20 meeting, and for attending the Washington musical to support our students.

I am proud of our school district, students and our dedicated professionals, and I commit to you that we will never stop learning, never stop growing and never stop giving 110% to the children of this community.



The Stars of Washington School Perform Aladdin Jr. Tonight!

February 12, 2015

It amazes me that each year the musical productions starring our fourth and fifth grade students express what a truly special age the middle grades are.  Their age,  unique personalities, and the culture at Washington School allow them to come alive beautifully on stage.  The performers are naturals on stage, and their ability to sing, dance and act without self-consciousness is a delight to see.

Rehearsals for Aladdin Jr. began before winter break, and putting this production together was no easy feat! Over one hundred students are participating in the musical, which shows what a great experience it is and how much the kids love being part of it. I am so grateful for the dedication of the faculty and staff who work so tirelessly to give our students this opportunity to shine. The costumes, set design, characters, choreography, acting and singing are outstanding!

I have seen Aladdin Jr. twice now, and I can tell you with confidence that you and your family will see a great show if you are able to make it tonight. The evening performance begins at 6:30 pm in the Lincoln Little Theatre.

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An Exciting Week in SD81!

February 6, 2015

Some exciting events took place in School District 81 this week!  The reading room teachers from Kennedy School were selected to present their proposal “How to Effectively Implement and Organize a District Wide Leveled Reading Program for All Students” at the NCLB Conference this week in Chicago.  We are so proud to have this talented group of educators represent us at this annual state-wide conference. Thank you and congratulations to Kristen Savage-Stringer, Rose Karas, Anne Weinthaler, Tami Erickson, Cheri Grimaldi, Julie Fister, Barbara Brzozowska, Diane Serio, and Tanya Disheva!



The Schiller Park Education Association (SPEA) did an outstanding job of hosting a Meet the School Board Candidates Community Forum at Lincoln Middle School last night.  It was a great opportunity for the community to hear the candidates discuss who they are and why they are running for school board in their own words.  I applaud the SPEA’s efforts in offering this event to the public.  Thank you to all who attended, including the candidates, SPEA members, the SD81 administration, and community members.




I think the students in the SLC/SLBC liked the snow more than the rest of us this week! Please enjoy these pictures of them playing and sledding. I hope the pictures bring you joy and give you an idea of what School District 81 is all about.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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