School District 120 will be honored twice when the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recognizes winners of its Those Who Excel and Teacher of the Year awards.
Mundelein High School Instructional Aide Maggie Kirkman won a Meritorious Service Award in the category of Educational Support Personnel and the District 120 Transition Center team won a Special Recognition Award in the team category. They will be formally recognized at the 2023 Those Who Excel and Teacher of the Year Banquet on April 29.
“This is well-deserved recognition for both Maggie and the Transition Center team,” said District 120 Superintendent Kevin Myers. “We’ve always known the amazing job they do for our kids day-in and day-out. This wonderful recognition is an opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on them in front of both our school community and their peers across the state.”
Kirkman, a paraprofessional in the MHS Supported Learning Program for five years, was nominated by MHS Special Education Department Chair Kandace Tyrrell. In her nomination letter, Tyrrell said Kirkman demonstrates a student-centered.
“Maggie treats all of her students with compassion and the utmost respect,” Tyrrell said. Her continued professionalism and genuine care for students is invaluable to our department.”
Colleague Heather Ryan called Kirkman a beacon of light and hope for both students and staff.
“Maggie’s effortless ability to change her instructional approach and the language she uses tailored to the individual academic and social needs of each student in my class is quite remarkable,” Ryan said.
The Transition Center team was nominated by Transition Center Coordinator Michelle Bank. Bank’s nomination was supported with letters of recommendation from the parents of a graduate of the Transition Center program and a partner of the Transition Center, the Duman Opportunity Center of JCFS Chicago.
“They go above and beyond for each student and help the students achieve remarkable goals,” Jamie Sandberg of JCFS Chicago wrote. “They are committed to excellence in everything they do.”
In another recommendation letter, Linda and Rich Corbin, parents of a former student, stated that the Center made tremendous strides in academics and social situations for the students.
“There have been times when we thought the students could not accomplish some of their activities, but we were wrong and the staff was right. We are so glad we trusted them,” the Corbins wrote.
The ISBE honored 490 teachers, administrators, volunteers and support personnel with its annual Those Who Excel and Teacher of the Year awards. They are given to those who have made lasting impacts on the students, families and fellow educators in their school communities.