District 153’s Mitchell named ‘Superintendent of Distinction’

  Congratulating Superintendent Dale Mitchell, third
  from left, on being named South Cook Superintendent
  of Distinction are District 153 principals Nikki Kerr
  of Churchill School, Scott McAlister of James Hart
  School and Melissa Lawson of Willow School.

  (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
 
Dale Mitchell got a Superman cape Monday to recognize him as a "super superintendent" as part of the Homewood District 153 celebration marking his selection as the 2019 Superintendent of Distinction from the South Suburbs.
 
His peers in the Illinois Association of School Administrators voted for Mitchell to receive the honor for his leadership, professionalism, communication and community involvement. Mitchell said he got a letter from IASA last week telling him he’d been selected, but the party at Monday’s school board meeting wasn’t anything he expected.
 
  Dale Mitchell and his
  wife, Dayna. School board
  members thanked her for
  "sharing" her husband with
  them for the past 16 years
  he's served as superintendent.

  (Marilyn Thomas/H-F 
  Chronicle)
 
School board members, administrators, teachers and friends showered him with accolades in recognition of his friendship, caring and leadership.
 
To which Mitchell answered: “What a career I’ve had in Homewood schools, and I would not have been so successful without all of you, who are my close friends.”
 
“It’s personal with you. It’s not something you do because it’s your job title, you do it because it’s personal and you do it from your heart and your soul,” said Shelly Marks, District 153 school board president.  “You make a difference very day, every hour, every minute. We’re so lucky that you’ve spent your career as superintendent in Homewood making our school district a gem in the state and we appreciate all that you’ve done for all of us.”
 
Mitchell came to the district more than 20 years ago as assistant principal of James Hart School. He then served as principal and the district’s business manager before moving into the superintendent’s chair 16 years ago.  Mitchell has announced his retirement in June 2021.
 
“This isn’t just a job for you, it’s your passion,” said board member Ron Zinnerman.
 
  District 233 Superintendent
  Von Mansfield, left, was
  part of the celebration
  honoring District 153
  Superintendent Dale
  Mitchell.
(Marilyn Thomas/
  H-F Chronicle)
 
Board member Deb Havighorst credited Mitchell with setting reasonable goals each year and then raising the bar for the next year. That, she said, is the reason the district continues to improve.
 
“You’re ready to set the bar higher. I find that so inspiring, not only for my part on the board but in my work and everyday life as well,” Havighorst said.
 
Former board member Steve Anderson, who now serves on the District 233 board, thanked Mitchell for his mentorship, and District 233 Superintendent Von Mansfield thanked Mitchell for the strong working relationship they have developed.
 
Curriculum director Kathy Schaeflein thanked Mitchell for being not just a boss but a friend to the staff.
 
“He cries with us and laughs with us and shares his life with us,“ she said.
 
“Every day’s a blessing for me,” Mitchell said. “It’s been that way for 20-plus years in the district. I’ve been fortunate to be here. I’m successful because of all of you. You make me look good every single day and it makes the job easy.”

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