Dr. Judy Kmak and Katie Hurckes win 2017 Distinguished Service Awards

Education Foundation honored 28 DSA nominees during ceremony

The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 hosted its Distinguished Service Awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 16 at Ashyana Banquets. This ceremony annually honors those District 58 employees who exceed expectations and serve as inspirations to their community.

“This year, we will recognize 28 outstanding District 58 employees nominated for this honor,” said Bruce Swanson, event emcee and former Education Foundation director and retired District 58 teacher. “Each of their contributions has made a lasting impact on District 58, and more importantly, on the children who come through our school doors every day.”

This year’s Distinguished Service Awards ceremony recognized 28 District employees, who were each nominated by a parent, student or colleague. The ceremony gave each nominator the opportunity to share a few words about what makes their nominee special and deserving of the award.

The event concluded with the announcement of this year’s Distinguished Service Award winners.  

The 2017 DSA winner in the Staff Category is Dr. Judy Kmak, principal of Highland School. Dr. Kmak received nominations from the entire Highland staff, Highland primary students, Highland intermediate students, Highland secretaries Carol Gruber and Lauren Hopkins, Lester Principal Carin Novak, and parents Renata Barylowicz, Becky Gorman, Carrie Antonopoulos, Tammy Bristol, Tia Nash, Catrina Geyer and Austra Goncarikaite.

Dr. Kmak’s nominations impressed this year’s DSA Selection Committee. Although she received several nominations, each nomination essay on its own clearly demonstrated the incredible impact she has made on the lives of the students, staff and families she serves.

The 2017 DSA winner in the Teacher Category is Katie Hurckes, first grade teacher at Henry Puffer School. Mrs. Hurckes was nominated by her teaching colleagues Julie Batkiewicz, Carrie Murphy and Jennifer Woods, as well as parent Kate Marzo.

Mrs. Hurckes’ nominators each showed how she exceeds expectations both inside and outside the classroom, noting how she takes many leadership roles in her school and in District initiatives, while also supporting her students’ in their extracurricular activities.

The Education Foundation also honored the following Distinguished Service Award nominees:

  • Erik Andrews, Hillcrest Intermediate Developmental Learning Program Teacher
  • Jennifer Barriball, Indian Trail Third Grade Teacher
  • Ashley Bidlencik, Kingsley Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Maureen Bresnahan, Belle Aire/El Sierra Speech Therapist
  • Karina DeLeon, Kingsley Second/Third Grade Biliteracy Teacher
  • Julie Frank, Herrick Seventh Grade Math Teacher
  • Tim Frederickson, El Sierra/Hillcrest/Indian Trail/Kingsley Instructional Coach
  • Christina Gamboa, Kingsley Resource Teacher
  • Diane Glowicki, Kingsley Secretary
  • Beth Hatlen, Indian Trail Kindergarten Teacher
  • Kerri Hickey, Herrick Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher
  • Nancy Hildreth, Grove Children’s Preschool Teacher (Henry Puffer)
  • Katie Hurckes, Henry Puffer First Grade Teacher
  • Maria Ibarra Lorence, Kingsley First/Second Grade Biliteracy Teacher
  • Dr. Judy Kmak, Highland Principal
  • Kris Krumwiede, Hillcrest Second Grade Teacher
  • Sarah McJoynt, Herrick Seventh Grade English-Language Arts Teacher
  • Laura Novotny, Lester First Grade Teacher
  • Barbara Potocki, Fairmount Kindergarten Teacher
  • Lauren Prosser, Hillcrest First Grade Teacher
  • Carissa Redpath, Hillcrest Second Grade Teacher
  • M. Kyle Rennels, O’Neill Eighth Grade English-Language Teacher
  • Jennifer Rodriguez, Fairmount Social Worker
  • Lisa Rose, Highland, Henry Puffer, Whittier, El Sierra and Kingsley Orchestra Teacher
  • Jessica Stewart, Administrative Service Center Assistant Superintendent for Special Services
  • Colleen Sullivan, Whittier Second Grade Teacher
  • Catherine Tupy, Kingsley Instructional Assistant
  • Dr. Meg Van Dyke, O’Neill Eighth Grade Science Teacher

Congratulations to all of our 2016-17 Distinguished Service Award winners and nominees!

View a video honoring the 2016-17 DSA nominees at https://youtu.be/j1fWLIZt17Q.