Dr. Nancy Spaniak, director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, is retiring from her position at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
The District 233 school board wished her well and thanked her for the 16 years of leadership she has shown. Her contract ends June 30.
“I hope to continue in other facets because you know I love this school,” Spaniak told board members at the June 16 meeting as they applauded her for her work.
“She’s done a phenomenal job over these many years,” Superintendent Von Mansfield said. “We will miss you. If we can’t fill your position, which it doesn’t look like we will under the circumstances, so we’ll be happy to have you back in some fashion.”
Spaniak had been on the staff at District 227 before coming to H-F in 2004 as a reading instructor in the English department. She quickly realized there needed to be a greater emphasis on reading comprehension than what students were getting in English classes.
She was able to convince the administration to develop a structured reading program. With support from the school board, the pass/fail reading class became a stand-alone graded class. Today an estimated 18 percent of the student body is enrolled in the reading program.
Spaniak headed up the reading department and worked with a cohort of teachers over several summers creating reading programs for students at the various academic levels. Over time the program has grown into one that helps students at all levels – whether they are excellent readers or need assistance.
Over the years, one success built on another to bring the outstanding reading program to fruition. H-F won recognition in 2014 from the Illinois Literacy Association for having the best high school reading program in Illinois, and that led to H-F winning an award from the International Reading Association in 2014.
“We have reading courses, we have many, many supports for students including literacy instruction in all of our classrooms,” said Spaniak told the Chronicle in a 2018 interview.
Spaniak moved into the director of curriculum, instruction and professional development in 2008. She has worked to keep the H-F curriculum current helping faculty update materials and topics. For example, under her guidance courses in African American Literature, Quantitative Literacy and Careers in Education were recently added to the curriculum.
She has developed programs for teachers and staff on instruction and professional development, including the very successful H-F University (HFU), a series of summer instruction programs that has been used not only by H-F teachers but also by teachers in surrounding districts.
In her last months on the job, Spaniak’s work has focused on helping teachers’ transition to remote learning. She has been working with various committees and developed HFU programs to assist teachers on how to adapt to online instruction, including student engagement, social/emotional learning and technology initiatives. This summer's HFU is being taught by H-F staff members.
She has been recognized with the Those Who Excel Award of Excellence from the Illinois State Board of Education in 2019 and in 2006, and the Jim Montgomery Instructional Leadership Award.
Spaniak is the first of H-F’s current administrative team to retire. Mansfield has given notice to the Teachers Retirement System that he will be retiring, although he hasn’t announced the date. Gary Posing, director of information services, and Tom Wagner, director of operations and maintenance, will both retire in June 2021.
H-F Principal Jerry Lee Anderson started with a one-year contract and was given a three-year extension through June 30, 2021.