Several Members of the District 97 Community Earn Those Who Excel Awards

Several members of the District 97 community have earned awards in conjunction with the Illinois State Board of Education’s “Those Who Excel” educator recognition program. Below are the names of the winners, the type of award they received and a quote about each of them that was provided by the individual(s) who nominated them.

  • Maggie Testore, parent volunteer (Award of Excellence) – “Maggie has single-handedly developed and implemented the Cats and Dogs after-school tutoring program at Beye, which pairs students from Oak Park and River Forest High School with students from Beye. Maggie’s enthusiasm for and belief in the program is contagious, and her ability to develop it from a seed of an idea into a success has been a wonderful testament to her dedication.”
  • Abigayle Berman, social worker at Brooks Middle School (Award of Meritorious Service) – “She creates relationships with all of the students, and is someone they are eager to see and engage with. She has taken on the responsibility of overseeing the Let’s Do Lunch program, which helps students with disabilities further their social skills. I’m fortunate to have her as a member of my team.”
  • Erin Jacobson, special education instructional teacher at Whittier Elementary School (Award of Meritorious Service) – “She is a dedicated teacher and colleague who works tirelessly to create a positive learning environment for all students that is equitable, inclusive, and focused on the whole child. She is always cool, collected, patient and focused; her positive outlook is contagious; she has an innate balance that she brings to every interaction with students and staff; and she understands the importance of collaboration.”​​​​
  • Leslie Weiss and Meagan Roskos, teachers who job shared at Whittier Elementary School (Award of Meritorious Service) – “I cannot say enough positive things about these two. They are not just great teachers, they are also pleasant people. I frequently volunteer in their classroom, and am beyond impressed by the positive interactions and behaviors they exhibit. They truly lead by example.”
  • Lindsey Kiska, special education teaching assistant at Brooks Middle School (Award of Special Recognition) – “She is extremely dedicated to the students. She also extends her passion for individuals with disabilities to the community, which includes working for WSSRA and coaching a Special Olympics basketball team. She works her hardest each day to see students succeed.”

They will be among the individuals honored at a banquet being held in Normal, IL on October 28, 2017.

The “Those Who Excel” program annually recognizes and honors people who have made outstanding contributions to public and non-public elementary and secondary education. You can access additional information about the program by visiting