Morin Awards: Four D153 staff members honored for excellence

Four Homewood District 153 staff members were presented with The Jerry Morin Educational Excellence Award at the Oct. 15 Board of Education meeting. This year's recipients were Deb Clark, Cindy Gdalman, Michael Klein and Mary Markert.

From left, teacher Deb Clark, Churchill School Principal Nikki Kerr, District 153 Board President Shelly Marks and, behind them, District 153 Superintendent Dale Mitchell. Clark was presented with the Jerry Morin Educational Excellence Award at the Oct. 15 board meeting. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  From left, teacher Deb Clark,
  Churchill School Principal
  Nikki Kerr, District 153 Board
  President Shelly Marks and
  Superintendent Dale Mitchell,
  after Clark was presented with
  the Jerry Morin Educational
  Excellence Award.
 (Photos by
  Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 


Board President Shelly Marks said former board member Jerry Morin, for whom the award is named, was an advocate for hiring and retaining the best and brightest staff in order to maintain the district's tradition of excellence.


Churchill School Principal Nikki Kerr introduced Clark, who has been with the district for more than 21 years. Kerr noted that before becoming an administrator she taught third grade alongside Clark and learned a great deal from her.

"Deb believes that all of her students can learn at high levels, and puts in whatever support is needed for them to succeed," Kerr said. "She really believes in all kids ... no matter who they are, no matter what struggles they have. She believes in them and they in turn believe in themselves."

From left, District 153 Superintendent Dale Mitchell, music teacher Cindy Gdalman, Willow School Principal Melissa Lawson and District 153 Board President Shelly Marks. Gdalman was presented with the Jerry Morin Educational Excellence Award at the Oct. 15 board meeting. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  From left, District 153
  Superintendent Dale Mitchell,
  music teacher Cindy Gdalman,
  Willow School Principal
  Melissa Lawson and District
  Board President Shelly Marks.
  Gdalman was
 presented with
  the Jerry Morin Educational
  Excellence Award.
 
 


Willow School Principal Melissa Lawson introduced Gdalman, who teaches music and has been with the district for 20 years. 

"She is the heart of Willow School," Lawson said. “She gets all of our kids. They dance with her and they play instruments with her and they sing with her."

Lawson noted that music class can be scary and embarrassing for people who have little talent for it, but Gdalman makes the class fun for all her kids, introducing them to ukelele, drumming, singing and even sneaking music theory lessons in.


James Hart School Principal Scott McAlister introduced eighth-grade social studies teacher Michael Klein, who served as principal before McAlister took the job six years ago.

From left, teacher Michael Klein, James Hart School Principal Scott McAlister and District 153 Board President Shelly Marks. Back left, District 153 Superintendent Dale Mitchell. Klein was presented with the Jerry Morin Educational Excellence Award at the Oct. 15 board meeting. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  From left, teacher Michael
  Klein, James Hart School
  Principal Scott McAlister and
  District 153 Board President
  Shelly Marks. Back left,
  District 153 Superintendent
  Dale Mitchell. Klein was
 
 presented with the Jerry Morin
  Educational Excellence Award.

 

"Michael realized that his heart and passion was in being a classroom teacher, so he got out of administration," McAlister said. "We were fortunate enough to be able to hire him as a teacher. He is a rare talent, one of those people that if I were to start my own school from scratch he would be one of the teachers I would want to take with me."

He said evidence of Klein's character could be found in the way he coaches, using the same manner whether the team is undefeated or winless, encouraging student athletes to develop skills and sportsmanship.

https://hfchronicle.com/sites/default/files/D153%20Morin%20Award%20-%20Makert%202019-10-15%20103.jpg#overlay-context=article/2019/nov/02/local-entertainers-sharing-talent-nov-22-raise-funds-pads
  From left, District 153 staff
  member Mary Markert,
  District 153 Superintendent
  Dale Mitchell and District 153
  Board President Shelly Marks.
  Markert
 received the Jerry
  Morin Educational Excellence
  Award.
 
 

Superintendent Dale Mitchell introduced Markert, who has been with the district since 2002 in a variety of roles, including supervisor, registrar and transportation and operations coordinator.

"Mary exemplifies what Jerry meant by this award," Mitchell said. "Mary is the ultimate team player. She manages everything with a smile. She is someone I can count on to do whatever it takes for our district and for our kids. Without Mary, we would not be as strong as we are."

About Us

A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

Letters

Do you have something to say? If you want to inform the community about events, issues, recognitions, concerns, etc., write a letter. 

Send a letter

Correction suggestions

If you see a mistake in The Chronicle, whether it's a typo, a misspelling or an error of fact, please let us know. Our goal is to provide reliable, accurate stories, and if we miss a detail, we want to fix it fast.

Submit correction

Contact Us

A great community makes a great newspaper. We want to hear from you with news tips, story ideas, your photos and accounts of events, corrections, problems, suggestions, etc. Call or write the editors
Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661
Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]
Tom Houlihan at [email protected]

For advertising, distribution or general business inquiries, contact Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661.

Postal address:
The HF Chronicle
P.O. Box 461
Flossmoor, IL 60422