Skip to Content

District 54 announces seven Those Who Excel Awards

District 54 is proud to announce the following recipients of the 2018 Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Awards.

  • Adeela Qureshi, a special education assistant at Lakeview Elementary School in Hoffman Estates, won an Award of Excellence in the educational service personnel category.
  • Rod Craig, the mayor of Hanover Park, won an Award of Excellence in the volunteer category.
  • Danette Meyer, assistant superintendent of language and culture, won an Award of Merit in the administrator category.
  • The District 54 Happiness Team of Hobbs Behrouzi, Paul Goldberg, Julie Gorvett, Erin Knoll, Danette Meyer, Dilshad Patel, Jillian Sagan, Ming Shelby, Mandy Stochl and Quinn Wulbecker won an Award of Recognition in the team category.
  • Julie Kenny, director of the Therapeutic Day School at Jane Addams Junior High School in Schaumburg, won an Award of Recognition in the student support personnel category.
  • Sharon Barrick, a teacher at Frost Junior High in Schaumburg, won an Award of Recognition in the classroom teacher category.
  • Ruiyan Xiong, a Chinese Immersion teacher at Campanelli Elementary School in Schaumburg, won an Award of Recognition in the early career educator category.

Adeela Qureshi
Adeela Qureshi’s care and compassion for children is present in every interaction at Lakeview Elementary School. She is a paraprofessional assigned to the highest-need students, and she builds strong relationships with these students by seeing the best in them, setting high expectations for them and treating them with respect and dignity. As a Lazlo Club leader, Adeela builds relationships with students struggling to be respectful, responsible and safe throughout the day. While she regularly supports fifth-grade students, Adeela has chosen to be a leader for kindergarten, first- and second-grade students to expand her relationships throughout the school. Adeela facilitates an alternative lunch environment that was created at Lakeview for students who struggle to be successful in the regular lunch and recess environment. During lunch, she provides them with a supportive, engaging and kind environment where they are able to thrive. Adeela brings care, compassion, dedication and positivity to all she does. Adults and students want her on their team.

Rodney Craig
Rod Craig with studentsHanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig works closely with all Hanover Park schools to ensure a successful future for the youth of our community. He regularly visits District 54’s three Hanover Park schools. He reads with students, speaks on Veterans Day, attends evening functions such as open house, and much more. As he walks through the hallways, he stops to chat with students and staff. Mayor Craig attends events in support of the PTAs and serves on the District 54 Education Foundation Board of Trustees. He often speaks of his pride in being a part of District 54 and advocates on the district’s behalf throughout the area and in Illinois. Mayor Craig’s Kids at Hope Initiative supports the belief that all children are capable of success without exception, and he has spearheaded the Kids At Hope Resource Fair every spring to introduce families to programs, organizations and businesses that will support the whole child.

Danette Meyer
Danette Meyer talks with district visitorsDanette Meyer’s passion for serving students is the driving force of all that she does. Whether advocating for state policy changes on ACCESS cut scores, re-evaluating language proficiency criteria or actively participating in the Illinois State Bilingual Advisory Council, Danette strongly pursues the success of every child. District 54 was honored as a national District of Distinction for its highly successful Targeted Assistance Program to support English-learner students in developing their writing proficiency. Danette developed and launched the program, which benefited more than 1,200 students in District 54. Danette has also developed Summer Culture Camps, adult English as a Second Language classes and Target Language Workshops for students. In the past two years, Danette has taken on a new role as one of the leaders of the Happiness Movement in District 54. In this role, she worked with the Happiness Team to develop districtwide trainings for more than 2,000 employees.

Happiness Team
The Happiness Team with Shawn AchorDistrict 54 is focused on creating a school community that recognizes the importance of positive psychology to strengthen our core mission of Ensuring Student Success. The 10-member Happiness Team has been leading that work. The team planned the all-district Happiness Summit that kicked off the 2016-17 school year featuring Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. They also facilitated Orange Frog workshops for all staff, which focused on how positive psychology creates a happy, healthy and engaged learning community; deepens student, family and community development; improves performance; and fuels student success. The District 54 Happiness Team also designed a one-day workshop to kick off the 2018-2019 school year. The workshop, called Orange Island, expanded our understanding of the interconnected nature of happiness and success.

Julie Kenny
Julie Kenny with certificateJulie Kenny leads a staff of eight at District 54’s Therapeutic Day School located at Addams Junior High School. Her strength lies in her knowing each student’s needs, so she can work with her staff to tailor the program to the individual, ensuring success for each student and the program as a whole. Julie spends a lot of time meeting with students, letting them know that they are valuable and cared for within the program and outside of school. She goes out of her way to ensure that the students and their families can continue to be successful at home and in the community by coordinating with community resources and meeting with parents. Julie always presents a calm, optimistic and forward-looking attitude and searches for solutions that promote growth even in the most difficult and stressful situations.

Sharon Barrick
Sharon Barrick is always thinking of ways to help her students at Frost Junior High School and best meet their needs. Sharon sets attainable goals for her students based on their

Sharon Barrick with students

abilities, and she comes to her students’ classes to support them even when she is not scheduled to be there. She will put in as many hours as the students need to help them complete their work and do it well. Sharon knows how to help her students achieve the right mindset to produce their best work. She accomplishes this by developing relationships with the children as individuals. She has attended their extracurricular events, and meets her students when they come to school early to play basketball so she can talk to them about their work and what they need to accomplish that day. She also works with other teachers, helping them better serve their own students and recognizing them for their efforts.

Ruiyan Xiong
Ruiyan working with a studentRuiyan began working in District 54 three years ago as a Chinese Immersion support teacher, supporting small groups of students across grade levels. Along with planning and developing lessons, Ruiyan also ran several clubs including Chinese drumming, dance clubs and coding club. As the immersion program rolled to the upper grades, Ruiyan worked with the Chinese Immersion Coach to write the curriculum for social studies, math and literacy acceleration in Chinese. As a classroom teacher, Ruiyan spends incorporates student interests into her lesson design to encourage students to do the hard work of learning content in a second language every day. At a district level, Ruiyan coordinates activities for students to learn about the Chinese culture at the District 54 Multicultural Event and was an early participant in the district’s Digital Learning Task Force, applying what she has learned to further motivate her students.

The Illinois State Board of Education will honor all District 54 representatives during its annual Those Who Excel banquet on Oct. 20 in Normal, Illinois.