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District 47 Celebrates Spring Elevate Award Winners

District 47's Elevate program recognizes employees who uphold and exemplify the district's mission, vision, and core values and who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of students, schools, and the community. Nominees and winners are announced three times a year - fall, winter, and spring. For the spring Elevate Award, 10 winners were announced out of 43 nominations. District 47 would also like to thank all the businesses that have chosen to sponsor our Elevate program this year. Eight local sponsors award the winners with a gift card.

Elevate Award recipients will be recognized at the April 15 Board of Education meeting. Please take a moment to read more about our winners with a quote taken from their Elevate nomination.


Jodie Busse, 3rd Grade Teacher, Indian Prairie

“Mrs. Busse is my child's 3rd grade teacher and has made a huge positive impact on my child this year. She creates a positive and safe learning environment for all students so that they feel as though they can share ideas without judgment. She recognizes the growth in students. Seeing the pride in my child being able to improve and be recognized for it was amazing.”


Jennifer Gray, PE Teacher, Canterbury

“Mrs. Gray makes a deep impact in our school community on a daily basis. As a P.E. teacher, not only does she help foster a love for exercise in her students, but she is also constantly reinforcing our school PBIS expectations in a way that helps students feel safe in the gym environment. Mrs. Gray is such a positive role model for our students in all regards: showing passion during her lessons, which students look forward to all week, social emotional learning, and school values.”


Matthew Grubbs, Principal, Coventry

“Mr. Grubbs has done an amazing job creating a culture of respect and learning at Coventry. Every morning he arrives a bundle of energy, smiling and ready to tackle the day. The tone he sets and his positive attitude are contagious. He has truly created a school that people want to be a part of. Coventry staff know that Mr. Grubbs cares about them and will help them grow and become stellar educators. Students know that he loves them and will do anything for them. Parents know that their children are in very capable and caring hands.”


Elaine Kaczynski, Special Education Paraprofessional, Coventry

“Elaine is patient, kind, and hard-working, creating relationships with the adults and students around her (not just the ones she works with directly). She is helpful in ways that go far beyond her job description. Elaine really displays excellence in the “celebrating individual differences” part of the vision statement as well, because she truly lifts up and celebrates her students. She still comes to work every single day with a smile and a positive attitude, ready to face whatever challenges come her way.”


Stephanie Kuligowski, EC Teacher, North

“One thing I admire most about Mrs. Kuligowski is her ability to uphold high expectations for her students while also being able to level with them as a human being and understand each child’s unique circumstances and abilities. Her passion for teaching and learning is clear in everything she does and inspires her students to achieve at their highest level. She helped my son develop skills as a learner that he has taken into middle school and become a straight A student. She fostered his self confidence, self esteem, and work ethic. Mrs. Kuligowski cares about each child as a whole and is a truly fabulous asset to the D47 community. Some people were just MADE to be teachers, and Mrs. Kuligowski is without a doubt one of them.”


Tabitha Lindquist, Lunch/Playground Supervisor, Coventry

“Ms. Lindquist has helped transform Coventry into a truly special place. Every holiday, Tabitha decorates the cafeteria for the 600 students who attend Coventry. Recently, she took this practice to an elevated level. Coventry is doing One Book, One School with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tabitha created so many decorations on her own, that she needed to rent a moving truck to bring them to school. There are life size gates from the Wonka Factory, Chocolate bars that are eight feet tall, squirrels creating cotton candy, and a chocolate waterfall, and so much more. These decorations bring smiles to both teachers and students. She is a beacon of kindness who truly embodies what it means to elevate a school.”


Julie Maglares, 1st Grade Teacher, Indian Prairie

“Mrs Maglares has been a teacher at Indian Prairie for over 20 years. In her classroom her students can be themselves because she accepts them as a whole! Mrs Maglares makes sure her ELL students feel welcome in her classroom. This made my child’s self esteem sky over the roof! At the beginning of the school year Mrs Maglares reached out to my husband and I regarding our child’s education and we created a plan to help him grow. She provided us with resources to help him grow and improve on educational levels and well as his social skills with peers. We have also learned about support teachers that the district provides to help in their own education goals. Thanks to her, our child  is improving everyday in his education and he grows socially as well.”


Maria McEvilly, 1st Grade Dual Language Teacher, Canterbury

“Mrs McEvilly is an amazing teacher of first grade dual language. We are so lucky to have her in our district. She inspires students each day with building literacy skills and mathematics with creative and collaborative centers. Her students are engaged in growing as learners in Spanish and English. Mrs McEvilly ‘elevates’ her students, their families, and the school community with her kindness, diligence, creativity and talent as a teacher.”


Mindy Merritt, Assistant Principal, Lundahl

“Mindy has great knowledge about special education which has been a blessing to support the day to day issues that may come to our attention. She is always available to provide support, a conversation, and helps to create a safe learning environment for our students while supporting staff. Without her support, our school community would suffer. [She is] always in the hallways talking with students, greeting staff, and modeling what it means to be part of a school community.”


Miren Ogando, 7th Grade Dual Language Teacher, Lundahl

“Ms. Ogando has been a wonderful addition to LMS. She challenged her 7th graders to participate in the UNESCO Human Rights and Diversity challenge. They have developed their research and critical thinking skills, worked on public speaking, and were able to showcase individual skills.  She has encouraged all students to shine, and developed life long skills that go beyond textbook learning. She is a true gem, and brings out the best in all of her students!”