Professional Development Award

The 2017 Professional Development Award Recipients are:

 Jennifer Gruca, John F. Kennedy Middle School

Gruca will attend the Civil Rights Educator Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas to learn more about various historic civil rights issues.


Cheryl Lucas, Ira Jones Middle School

Lucas will attend the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference in San Antonio, Texas to learn how technology is being implemented in the classroom.


Trisha Miller, Creekside Elementary School
Miller will attend the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s “Primary Writing with Structure and Style” program at Elmhurst College to learn how to develop specific writing skills and other related functions.


Sidney Minnick, Charles Reed Elementary School

Minnick use her grant to help buy the “Breakout EDU Gaming in the Classroom” program to help teach STEAM activities and train other staff in this discipline.


Sheila Raddatz, Drauden Point Middle School

Raddatz will take a course at Joliet Junior College about using Maker Technology to help build digital literacy and promote interest in STEAM courses.


Lidia Salgado, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

Salgado will attend the Equity, Justice and Diversity in Education conference at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado to learn how to better serve culturally and linguistically diverse learners.


Kendell Stacheski, Heritage Grove Middle School

Stacheski will attend the Tri-County Agriscience Educator Institute at Joliet Junior College to promote agricultural awareness, education and understanding as part of science and math classes.


Kimberly Transon, Charles Reed Elementary School

Transon will attend the Kagan Structures Cooperative Learning Summer Academy in Lisle, Illinois to learn how to maximize student motivation.


Christopher Vanderwall, John F. Kennedy Middle School

Vanderwall will attend the Conducting and Wind Music Symposium at Northwestern University to enhance his conducting, teaching and musical skills.


Laura Widdel, Ira Jones Middle School

Widdel will attend the Making STEM Teaching Relevant Using Industry Partnerships course at the University of St. Francis to learn how to make real world connections between the classroom and the business world for students.



The 2016 Professional Development Award Recipients are: 

Melissa Aubuchon, Indian Trail Middle School

Aubuchon will take a course offering teaching strategies and tools for exceeding expectations of the Common Core state learning standards.


Cindy Cook, Crystal Lawns Elementary School

Cook will take a course focusing on bullying among girls and female empowerment.


Elaine Diveley, Plainfield East High School

Diveley will use her grant to allow her to present at the American Association of Teachers of French annual national convention.


Laura Dovalovsky, Plainfield High School – Central Campus

Dovalovsky will take a course on ways to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum relevant.


Megan Madigan, Freedom Elementary School

Madigan will attend the Kodaly Level 3 music education workshop.


Dana Rakoci, Bonnie McBeth Learning Center

Rakoci will take a class focusing on emotions and learning for younger students.


Kristen Rhodes, John F. Kennedy Middle School

Rhodes will take a course teaching how to work with oppositional, defiant and disruptive children and adolescents.


Megan Rich, Grand Prairie Elementary School

Rich will take programs focusing on service learning at the American Speech and Hearing Association’s summer conference.


Megan Smith, Drauden Point Middle School

Smith will attend the Tri-County Summer Agricultural Institute to learn how Will County contributes to the “farm to table” process, and to learn how food, fiber and renewable resources are produces.


The 2015 Professional Development Award Recipients are:

Ellen Bailey, Eagle Pointe Elementary School

Bailey will take an online course that will help develop critical thinking and questioning skills specifically for he early primary grades.


Gina Geraci, Plainfield South High School

Geraci will take an online master’s course in Spanish literature that also focuses on integrating technology into the curriculum.


Justin Greene, John F. Kennedy Middle School

Green will attend a summer teacher institute at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. focusing on ways to make students more socially aware.


Diane Higgins, Plainfield North High School

Higgins will attend the Midwest Teachers Institute and take a class focusing in essential Common Core strategies for reading and writing.


William Johnson, Plainfield High School – Central Campus

Johnson will attend a workshop at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, teaching ways to increase cross-cultural education.


Stephanie Manno, Ira Jones Middle School

Mate will attend a workshop in Monterey, California focusing on robotics and engineering.


Linda Merdian, Lincoln Elementary School

Merdian will take an online course focusing on the multicultural classroom through the University of California-La Verne.


Vanessa Pollitt, Eagle Pointe Elementary School

Pollitt will attend the Literacy Retreat 2015 in Oakbrook Terrace to learn new literacy techniques regarding complex thinking, and related topics.


Angela Ramey, Charles Reed Elementary School

Ramey will use her grant to gain knowledge about gifted education through the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center for Gifted and Talented Education.


Meghan Sheets, Timber Ridge Middle School

Sheets will attend the “One Clip At a Time” service learning program in Chattanooga, Tennessee that provides training on ways to teach students tolerance, acceptance and understanding of cultural differences. The program uses World War II-related content aligned with the Common Core language arts curriculum.


Wendy Traina, Wesmere Elementary School

Traina will take part in a distance learning course called “Leading Intentional Talk with Young Mathematical Students. The program provides strategies for planning and improving student involvement in math discussions.


The 2014 Professional Development Award Recipients are:

Eric Danforth     Aux Sable Middle School     $500
Docs Teach National Archives Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia


Gail Epley     Creekside Elementary     $500
Connecting Art to the Common Core   online course


Maggie Gurrister     Plainfield Academy     $390
Across the Spectrum: Teaching Students with Autism    online course


Deana Lunn     Plainfield Academy     $390
Across the Spectrum: Teaching Students with Autism online course


Mary Markwell     Heritage Grove Middle School     $500
American Library Association Conference and Exhibition Las Vegas, Nevada


Tracey Newberry     Plainfield Academy     $390
Across the Spectrum: Teaching Students with Autism online course


Ann Smelser     Ridge Elementary     $375
SCIRA/TRS  Summer Conference


Beth Trudelle     Eichelberger and Crystal Lawns     $500
Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education Vandercook College of Music


Emily Tonon     Plainfield East High School     $500
AP Summer Institute:  Teachers as Artists Columbia College


Nicole Walker     Plainfield High School Central Campus     $500
Fermi Lab Summer Secondary Physics Institute:  Engineering Applications


Carrie Wolseley     Timber Ridge Middle School     $500
Science in the Rockies Denver, Colorado

The Foundation for Excellence gave grants totaling $5,000 to certified staff members for professional growth and development during the summer of 2014. Grant money was designated to be used for registration fees, tuition, conferences, seminars, travel, lodging or other expenses related to continuing education. By helping certified staff members enhance their classroom skills, the Foundation is fulfilling its mission to support teaching and learning.

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