Nine Teachers Celebrate 25 Years in the District

With the start of the 2022-23 school year, we would like to recognize and celebrate nine staff members who have reached 25 years of employment with the District: Joleen Barry, Julie Bennett, Jason Clarke, Kris Cryns, Cathy Daniels, Karen Frink, Kevin Karman, Tim Kenney, and Roxanne Tibbits. The level of commitment and dedication that these nine have shown in our schools and classrooms is so inspiring and we are truly lucky to call them Shorewood School District employees.
Joleen Barry (5K Teacher)
 Joleen has spent her entire Shorewood career serving as a 5K teacher at Atwater Elementary.
How would others describe Joleen?
As an extremely dedicated teacher who has a gift for finding and celebrating what makes each child shine.  Joleen is tireless in her devotion to her work.  Colleagues note that Joleen has a genuine love for and appreciation of early childhood education and is a steadfast advocate for developmentally appropriate practice and play-based learning.  She has a great sense of humor and often uses this to help her students and her co-workers feel comfortable and at ease in her company. She is always willing to learn new things and selflessly passes on her expertise to others.  Joleen has always gone above and beyond with creating an inviting, comfortable and structured environment for her students. Thoughtful, respectful, and kind - Joleen makes all of her co-workers feel valued.
Colleague and friend Bridey Richards says that she “has loved learning from Joleen both professionally and personally, and that our children, families and other educators are extremely fortunate to have her in our District.”
Julie Bennett (Special Education Teacher)
Since beginning her career in Shorewood, Julie has served as a special education teacher at Atwater for the last 25 years.
How would others describe Julie?
As is a kind and thoughtful educator.  Julie is very determined in her work and makes it a priority to get to know her students and families extremely well so she can fully support them both personally and academically.  She always keeps her students' best interests at heart and works to ensure their success in and out of the classroom.  To this point, Julie is resourceful, creative, and inventive. She is always willing to adjust programming and/or strategies for a student until she finds what will work best for them, even if it means taking extra time out of her days.
Additionally, Julie is always open to positive, honest, and sincere dialogue which helps not only her students but the teachers that she supports. Atwater staff trust Julie immensely and care what she has to say. She serves as a positive role model for all and Atwater staff have been so lucky to have her serving alongside them these last 25 years.
Kris Cryns (4th Grade Teacher)
During her 25-year tenure, she has been at Atwater the entire time, serving as both a first-grade teacher and a fourth-grade teacher, the latter of which she teaches now.
How would others describe Kris?
As an amazing person who is fiercely loyal to family, friends, and her students. As an educator, she is personable in the classroom and really cares about the whole child. She makes connections with each student individually and makes sure each student feels seen. She is a very trusted colleague with excellent teaching skills. Kris is highly organized, kind, dedicated, and professional. Whenever Kris engages in professional development, she implements the learning immediately in her classroom. She's a learner and a doer! Kris constantly strives to keep things interesting for the kids.  Kris takes to new ideas quickly and uses them effectively. She independently studied brain research to better understand learning and incorporated brain breaks crossing the midline of the brain to help her students. Kris is a collaborative team member who shares creative ideas.
Colleagues say she has the sense of humor of an SNL writer, with her sharp wit and humor. They feel lucky whenever they catch one of her great zingers or impersonations and love every minute of working with her. 
Cathy Daniels (Math Interventionist/Title 1 Math Teacher)
Cathy has been with Atwater for all 25 years, serving as a 6th grade teacher for 17 years and then as a Math Interventionist/Title 1 math teacher for the last 8.
How would others describe Cathy?
As a very kindhearted, thoughtful, and caring teacher and friend. She has a wealth of knowledge regarding the inner workings and history of Atwater Elementary and is the reigning queen of scheduling, according to her colleagues. Atwater has continued to thrive during the last few challenging years in large part because of Cathy's expertise. Cathy truly cares about her students and holds high academic expectations for them, while also being very committed to learning about who they are and what they enjoy outside of school. As for staff, if they ever have an issue, they know they can rely on Cathy to listen, see situations from all sides and give sound and thoughtful advice.
Colleague Kerstin Mestelle says that she hit the jackpot when Cathy was assigned to be her mentor in Shorewood, and that she has personally been lucky to learn and grow as a teacher under Cathy’s wing. Atwater families and staff have been so fortunate to have Cathy as an educator for all of these years, and they look forward to continuing to grow and learn from her.
Roxanne Tibbits (Multilingual Learner Teacher/Coordinator)
During her 25-year tenure, Roxanne has been a staple for the District. She served as a 4th and 5th grade teacher at Atwater for 11 years before transitioning to her current role as Multilingual Learner Teacher at Atwater and Multilingual Learner Coordinator for the District for the past 14 years.
How would others describe Roxanne?
As someone who always puts her students' best interests front and center. A classroom teacher for many years, Roxanne has always been a pillar of dedication for her students and families. - her classrooms have always warm, welcoming, and inclusive!  Roxanne enjoys collaborating with other teachers to help every student reach their potential and beyond.  This drive to give only the very best to students guided Roxanne in the direction to change roles and become a teacher of Multilingual Learners - and eventually into our ML Coordinator.  Roxanne is very passionate about welcoming new families and ensuring they have resources to support their transition into our school district.  Roxanne has continued her collaborative approach and frequently works with colleagues to support our multilingual learners - both in and out of the classroom.  Roxanne works tirelessly to advocate for these students and the ML program, and make sure all students’/families’ needs are met. 
Roxanne is not only an amazing educator, but also a wonderful colleague.  She has a fun sense of humor, has the best laugh, and makes those around her smile. She puts all at ease and makes sure everyone feels comfortable in any situation. We are lucky to have such an asset like Roxanne in our District.

Lake Bluff 

Kevin Karman (Art Teacher)
Kevin has served as the Lake Bluff Art teacher for the last 25 years.
How would others describe Kevin?
As an extremely talented teacher who consistently puts the needs of his students above everything else.  He goes above and beyond to provide learning experiences that help all children see themselves as artists.  He skillfully creates engaging lessons that not only develop the students' artistic abilities but also involve students in the creation of beautiful, unique pieces of art that grace the halls of Lake Bluff and students' homes. He’s been instrumental in planning many artist-in-residence programs over the years and has hosted many Artist-in-Us programs after school for families to spend time together creating art. Kevin embodies the words lifelong learner. Whether it be the integration of technology into his curriculum or industrial arts, Kevin shares his love of learning with students. He continually strives to instill an appreciation of how one’s creativity and imagination can make things come to life. Kevin sees wonder in everyday things, and this is evident all-around Lake Bluff. 
As a colleague, he is a great collaborator and always desires to make Lake Bluff the best it can be. Others enjoy his thoughtful, perceptive contributions to discussions and his sense of humor.  Kevin has made Lake Bluff a better place for the last 25 years, and the students and staff are grateful that he has shared his many gifts and talents with them.

Jason Clarke (Choir Director)
Jason actually splits his time between SHS and SIS, and has been the choir director at both schools for the past 25 years.
How would others describe Jason?
As a spectacular educator and wonderful person who--through his dedication to his craft and his ability to bring out the best in those around him--has left an indelible mark on the outstanding performing arts tradition at SHS and has had a positive impact on the lives of countless Shorewood students.  As a master educator, Jason is continually innovative in his approach to teaching, he sets the bar high, and knows how to help each student work hard, and exceed expectations. He develops deep and meaningful relationships with his students and is not only concerned for their musical development but supports them in other aspects of their lives. Jason’s choirs have performed all over the world, earning numerous awards, honors, and recognitions during his tenure, but what may be most impressive, is that the lessons learned in Shorewood Choirs extend far beyond the walls of practice rooms and famous concert halls, and prepare all students for life after SHS. 
Colleagues say it is a privilege to learn from Jason as a colleague and friend.  His fun, quick-wittedness, dry sense of humor, willingness to tap into his wealth of knowledge and lend a helping hand, make him an amazing colleague.
Karen Frink (Orchestra Director)
Karen has served as the Orchestra director for her entire 25-year tenure in Shorewood Schools.
How would others describe Karen?
As a department leader who is the epitome of a collaborative colleague in every possible way. Colleagues would tell you that Karen essentially built the orchestra program from the beginning, at first on her own, traveling to all four schools. Her hard work, grit, and commitment is why it has flourished over the past 25 years. Karen has gone above and beyond to maintain the program with inspiring innovation and energy. She leads with humility and isn’t in it for the individual recognition or praise, which colleagues say she is definitely deserving of, but rather she teaches to share her passion for music and to instill a lifelong music appreciation within all her students. She pushes herself professionally to continually teach new repertoire and create exciting performance and travel experiences, giving countless hours of her personal time to provide her students with unique opportunities outside of the classroom. Karen builds exceptional relationships with students and demonstrates ultimate dedication to the District, her colleagues, and the community of Shorewood.
Colleague Melissa Honigmann says she is incredibly grateful to have had Karen Frink as her mentor and friend for 20 years and that she hopes Karen knows how much she is valued and appreciated.
Tim Kenney (Principal)
During his time in Shorewood, he has served as a student teacher, math teacher and associate principal at SHS, he has coached boys cross country and boys track/field coach, he’s been the principal at Atwater Elementary, and for the nine last years, he has been the Shorewood High School principal.
How would others describe Tim?
As the mayor of Shorewood. He is liked and revered by everyone, and he is the keeper of all knowledge related to the Shorewood Schools. Some might call him a walking encyclopedia of SHS--both past and present—as he almost always remembers the faces/names of all his students. He is incapable of giving less than 110% to help meet the needs of not only his students and families but also his staff. He is an expert problem solver and always knows the right strategies and solutions for getting the best possible outcome. Tim leads with his heart and makes everyone he encounters feel like they are special and valued. He does the little things for his staff and students that really matter, like making sure his office is stocked with student-friendly snacks or bringing colleagues homemade salsa and produce from his garden. He has a knack for reading people and can relate to any person he comes across. With his humor and positive outlook, you can’t help but be drawn to him.  He is extremely reliable and if you looked up the word “genuine” in the dictionary, his name would be right by it.
He has been instrumental in driving the Shorewood School District forward for the past 25 years and has touched the lives of countless individuals. Shorewood would not be what it is today without his leadership and vision.