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Retiring Teachers, Administrators Applauded by School Board

Fifteen of the 43 retirees attended the District 202 board meeting Monday and recalled some of their favorite memories.

For Plainfield students, school's out for summer.

But for 43 District 202 administrators, educators and support staff, it's school out forever this summer thanks to retirement. Fifteen of the 43 were able to attend the Plainfield School District 202 board meeting Monday and were recognized for their years of service.

“All of our retirees have dedicated themselves to helping to guide, teach and support our students, taking care of our schools, and making District 202 the best learning community possible,” school board President Roger Bonuchi said in opening remarks.

“We owe the education of our kids to what you do,” he said.

Gene Carlson, principal at Wesmere Elementary School, said he may not feel retired until fall, when it will be the first time in 55 years that he hasn’t gone back to school.

“I’ll miss the kids and the parents the most,” said Carlson, who opened Wesmere Elementary 15 years ago. “We have outstanding kids and outstanding parents.”

That made his job easy, he said.

He also said he was blessed to work with “incredible people in the district.”

Also honored Monday include:

  • Ray Auld, speech and language pathologist at Bonnie McBeth Learning Center, who began Project Class to help meet the needs of district children who have autism and was a recipient of the Cape and Honored Guest awards this spring.
  • Wendy Brody, a special education administrator at Plainfield East High School who also served at several district schools, was recognized for her work helping to initiate the Special Education Parent Teacher Organization, participating on the planning committee for Plainfield Academy and coordinating the Special Olympics for Plainfield East.
  • James Dickerson, a groundskeeper since 1983, said his favorite memory was working with the people in the district. “They certainly appreciated me, and I tried to keep my nose clean and to do my job,” Dickerson wrote as his favorite moment. “I was good to them and they were good to me.”
  • Charlene Briddick, a confidential secretary with the Curriculum and Instruction Department, has worked with the district since 1997, and Laura Fritz, confidential secretary with the Administration and Personnel department, has been with the district since 2000.
  • Teresa Ford, a kindergarten teacher at Walker’s Grove Elementary School, came to the district in 1989 and said one of her favorite memories was helping build a playground at Walker’s Grove.
  • Karen Groszcyk, a guidance counselor at Plainfield South High School since it opened, helped open the College Career Center at the school.
  • Adele Hunt, a foreign language teacher and department chair at Plainfield South High School, started in District 202 in 1978 as the reading specialist. She said she remembers the “outpouring of help and support and love after the (1990) tornado.”
  • Sally Johnson, a differentiation specialist at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, said she enjoyed seeing the sparkle in a student’s eyes when he or she mastered something.
  • Judy Liss, a reading recovery leader at Lincoln Elementary School, came to the district in 1995.
  • Jean Newhall, learning behavior specialist at Thomas Jefferson Elementary, first came to the district in 1979 as a sixth-grade teacher and has run into her former students who are now adults. They turned out to be “wonderful moments,” she said.
  • Carol Priesbe, a media specialist at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, came to the district in 1997.
  • Wendy Vorgang, a special education secretary at Plainfield South High School, said her favorite memory was when Plainfield South opened in 2001 and being a part of that inaugural team.
  • Olga Schultz, a reading recovery specialist at Wesmere Elementary School, said she will take with her the feeling of knowing she made an impression on so many students.

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