October 21, 2020

District 54 is proud to announce that today the following individuals were recognized with a 2020 Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Award.

  • Julia Bolotin, fifth-grade teacher at Muir Elementary School, won in the Early Career Educator category.
  • Ann-Marie Cerny, a social worker at Addams Junior High School, won in the Student Support Personnel category.
  • The 2019-2020 District 54 Mentor Team, comprised of Tara Cusack, Michelle Felice, Laura Marchant and Dilshad Patel, won in the Team category.
  • Julie Gorvett, former Early Learning Center principal (now Assistant Superintendent of Instruction), won in the Administrator category.
  • Eric Jonasson, Operations & Maintenance Specialist, won in the Educational Service Personnel category.
  • Maggie Joyce, the Spanish dual language teacher at Frost Junior High, won in the Classroom Teacher category.

Julia Bolotin

In a mere four years as a part of the fifth-grade team, Julia has proven to be the type of teacher everyone wants to be. She approaches everyday as an opportunity to grow as a professional to best support students. Julia consistently introduces new ideas; makes sure every student feels honored and respected; values the importance of connecting with families; and takes a personal interest in each member of her learning community. As a result, teachers seek her out for support and see her as a role model for professionalism and relationship building. According to her principal, Carolyn Allar, “It’s impossible not to see the impact Julia has had on the school environment.” Julia Bolotin Highlight Video

Ann-Marie Cerny

At Addams Junior High, Ann-Marie supports students that have severe physical limitations and does it in a way that makes them feel respected and cherished. Outside of the traditional school day, Ann-Marie runs the Addams Ambassador Council and Partners Club, and is an integral part of the District 54 Special Olympics program. She demonstrated that commitment by writing the application that led to Addams becoming the third junior high in the state to be recognized as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School at the national level. She connects with students at home when they may be struggling emotionally; and she develops their skills to help them cope and deal with anxiety and the complexities of being a middle school student. Ann-Marie brings students of all abilities together and provides them with rich experiences that last a lifetime. Ann-Marie is extremely positive and her attitude is infectious. Ann-Marie Cerny Highlight Video

District 54 Mentor Team

The District 54 Mentor Team not only serves as champions for our students, but also models that behavior for new teachers. This small team provides support to hundreds of teachers each year. They strengthen new and veteran teachers’ ability to develop positive relationships and routines by providing professional development, facilitating positive psychology training sessions and expanding the Social Emotional Learning curriculum. In addition, the 2019-20 team being recognized (Michelle Felice, Tara Cusack, Laura Marchant and Dilshad Patel) developed and facilitated the Student Ambassador program at all 28 schools – advocating for our students and giving them the tools to lead. Mentor Team Highlight Video

Julie Gorvett

As the principal of the Early Learning Center, Julie formed strong relationships with the students, staff and families to best support the district’s youngest learners. Every decision she made was based on the question – what is the right choice for our students? For example, Julie evaluated the entrance criteria to ensure students with the most significant need are provided essential time and opportunities, and provided staff the support to do this complex work successfully. Although all of her students were identified as special education or at risk, Julie maintained and fostered high expectations, a positive culture and a belief that all her children could succeed. She has not only impacted the Early Learning Center, but all 28 District 54 schools by ensuring our youngest learners are ready to move forward. Julie Gorvett Highlight Video

Eric Jonasson

From leaky pipes to panic button installation, Eric Jonasson finds solutions for and oversees the improvement of learning environments and the safety of every District 54 building. He leads his team by focusing on student and staff comfort and safety, finding new training opportunities and working alongside them to ensure our schools are ready for student learning and growth. In everything he does, Eric lives out the District 54 mission of ensuring student success. Over winter break last year, Eric volunteered to pick up furniture with his own truck for a District 54 family in need and purchased bedding, food and gifts for the family for the holidays. He motivates those around him by living out the principles of positive psychology, while always looking for what more he can do. Eric Jonasson Highlight Video

Maggie Joyce

As the only dual language teacher at Frost Junior High, Maggie Joyce has made it her mission to be a champion for the many Spanish-speaking families, both in the classroom and outside of school hours. She is an active and essential member of the Frost PTA, taking advantage of any opportunity she has to connect with parents. Maggie’s enthusiasm and professionalism has proven to be truly contagious as she serves as a model for her peers. She works diligently to collaborate with other departments at Frost and supports other dual language teachers across the district. However, most importantly, she goes above and beyond for her students every day through curricular and extracurricular activities. Maggie Joyce Highlight Video