District 161 staff receive ‘Those Who Excel’ honors

Five individuals from Flossmoor District 161 were selected to receive “Those Who Excel” awards from the Illinois State Board of Education at a ceremony Oct. 19 in Bloomington-Normal.
The 45th annual awards ceremony will honor educators, school staff and community members who have made significant contributions to education in Illinois.
Awards of recognition will be given to Flossmoor Hills teacher Lisa Ciesielski in the classroom teacher category and Parker Junior High teacher Mallory Tehako in the early career educator category.
Awards of merit will be given to custodian supervisor David Fox in the education service personnel category, school psychologist Amber Gumm in the student support personnel category, and Karen Cheung in the community volunteer category.
According to a district press release, the recipients all expressed feeling humbled by their nominations.
“As a teacher, I am not in it for the glory or awards, but it is nice to be recognized for the hard work and effort I put in every day,” Ciesielski said.
Cheung volunteers with the Parent Teacher Organization and Girl Scouts in addition to serving as a school events coordinator. She joined the district in 2015.
“[Volunteer] dedication sometimes means your own family has to sacrifice their time by coming in early in the morning to set up an event, or staying late to clean up an event, so it felt great to know the district sees that and recognizes how much our volunteers give to the schools,” Cheung said in the release.
Superintendent Dana Smith also commented that the five individuals “deserve all the praise in the world.”
“We’ve been incredibly lucky to have such dedicated members of the District 161 extended family,” he said in the release. “From community members to staff and faculty, the work that goes on in District 161 is remarkable.” 

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