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District 54 announces seven Those Who Excel Awards

District 54 is proud to announce the following recipients of the 2019 Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Awards.

  • Chris Bingen, principal of Addams Junior High School, won in the Administrator category.
  • Sue Budak, a District 54 Education Foundation trustee and past president of the Schaumburg Township Council of PTAs, won in the Community Volunteer category.
  • Cynthia Christian, a paraprofessional at John Muir Literacy Academy, won in the Educational Service Personnel category.
  • The 2018-19 Eisenhower Junior High School guidance team of Melissa Hemzacek, Melinda Perez, Monica Bhatia, Krishna Patel and Julie Goolish won in the Team category.
  • Laurie Konkey, a language arts teacher at Keller Junior High School, won in the Classroom Teacher category.
  • Sara Maduzia, a literacy coach at Armstrong Elementary School, won in the Student Support Personnel category.
  • Katherine Massingill, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Dooley Elementary School, won in the Early Career Educator category.

Chris Bingen

Chris Bingen with teachersWhether it is problem-solving how to support struggling students or planning engaging and innovative lessons, Addams Junior High Principal Chris Bingen is always supportive of new ideas and ready to help in any way he can. If Chris thinks something will help students, he will find a way to make it happen. He truly embodies the “culture of yes.” A sign of a true leader is the ability to listen, and some of the key people Chris listens to is his students. Chris takes student feedback very seriously and regularly meets with his student Principal Advisory committee to consider what broad school changes should be made. Chris views student success as both academic and social/emotional growth and achieves this growth by fostering trusting relationships with students, staff, parents and the community.

Sue Budak

Sue Budak thanking everyoneSue Budak has been a dedicated volunteer in Schaumburg School District 54 since her son Rob’s first days in elementary school in 2006, and even though he moved on to high school four years ago, Sue continues to serve District 54. Sue has spent countless hours over the years as a volunteer with the District 54 Education Foundation and with the PTA, where she has served as PTA Council Chair and Reflections Chair. In addition to volunteering her time, Sue recently gave two generous donations to benefit District 54 students. She donated $9,000 to the Foundation for STEM education in memory of her husband Mark, and $10,000 toward the purchase of Orange Frog books with District 54 study guides for every District 54 family.

Cynthia Christian

Cynthia Christian with a classCynthia Christian has the ability to make strong connections with everyone she encounters in her role as a paraprofessional at Muir Literacy Academy. She does whatever it takes to meet the needs of students, and is incredibly supportive of her colleagues, as well. Cynthia runs the Breakfast Club at Muir, feeding children from financially struggling families a healthy meal and connecting with them on a personal level each day. She also gives up her lunch each day to serve as the head lunch supervisor. She came to value this time as one where she could build relationships with students while simultaneously supporting their needs and setting high expectations to help them be successful.

Eisenhower Guidance Team

The Eisenhower Guidance team with studentsThe Eisenhower Junior High Guidance Team models what it means to support the whole child by developing positive relationships with students. In addition to their daily work with children, team members organize events to support the whole child, such as a basket brigade to provide Thanksgiving meals and a holiday event where students could shop for their families. They also provide professional development to staff regarding how students are affected by the challenges in their lives. They taught strategies that enabled staff to build caring and supportive relationships with students, while still holding students to high standards. Essentially, they created a culture at Eisenhower where students are served with a compassionate heart.

Laurie Konkey

Laurie Konkey with studentsLeadership is influence, and Laurie Konkey’s influence extends far outside the walls of her language arts classroom at Keller Junior High School. She connects with students and staff through a variety of roles, including as Interact Club sponsor and Student Ambassador leader. Laurie always comes up with creative ways to bring together the Keller community and goes to great lengths to show she cares. Most recently, she planned an early private graduation ceremony for student whose mother was terminally ill, enabling the mother to experience her daughter’s graduation. Laurie is the type of teacher that knows the name and need of countless children within our building, regardless if they are her student or not.

Sara Maduzia

Sara Maduzia with studentsWhether teaching engaging lessons to students, supporting her colleagues to create high-quality lessons, sponsoring clubs and events or leading the District 54 Extended School Year program for special education students during the summer, Armstrong Literacy Coach Sara Maduzia’s dedication to student success is never ending. During the day, she works with kindergarten, first- and second-grade students – and their teachers – to develop strong literacy skills. However, her commitment to Armstrong students and their families is even more evident in the way she uses her free time during the day and after-school to connect with students and their families individually, or through school clubs and activities.

Katie Massingill

Kate Massingill with studentsDistrict 54 is focused on elevating experiences for students, and Dooley fifth- and sixth-grade teacher Katie Massingill has truly brought this to life. Although she is only in her fourth year of teaching, Katie has shown her leadership through working with student ambassadors, promoting positivity, developing strong relationships with her students and families, and encouraging innovative instruction with her team and students. Katie is also known for her collaboration with her colleagues and for her willingness to take risks with her instruction in order to best engage her students in learning. Her students have been on virtual reality field trips, developed their own podcasts, and worked collaboratively to show their mastery of skills. With Katie’s passion and energy, she is sure to lead the way in education for many years to come.

The Illinois State Board of Education will honor all District 54 representatives during its annual Those Who Excel banquet on Oct. 19 in Normal, Illinois.