Those Who Excel

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Each year, the Illinois State Board of Education sponsors the Those Who Excel program to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to the state’s elementary and secondary schools. Nomination materials are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. Lakes Community High School and Community High School District 117 are honored to have 2 staff members recognized for their excellence this year.

Kyle Bush
Technology Department
Nominated by Mrs. Jori Bowen

Mrs. Bowen writes about how in less than a year, Mr. Bush has been transformational for our district and our school.

“Then, March 13th hit, and everyone had to pivot. While we are a 1:1 school (only in our second year), our teachers were not ready to take on remote learning. Mr. Bush jumped to action providing tools we did not even know we needed. He created a Google Site to communicate with all of our stakeholders and organized it in a readable, usable format and established a tech helpline for our students and staff to get quick answers almost around the clock. One night in March, I was sitting on my couch banging my head on a technology hang-up. I emailed the tech helpline expecting to get support the next day. A few minutes later, at 9 pm, Mr. Bush was G-chatting me to help walk me through the issue. He is an irreplaceable presence in our building.

In one year, Mr. Bush has made a tremendous impact on teaching and learning at Lakes Community High School. He is one of the best and deserves the highest recognition for his selfless contributions.”


Haley Garrison
Special Education Teacher
Nominated by Mrs. Randee Kallison

Mrs. Kallison writes about how deserving Ms. Garrison is of this recognition with so many initiatives in just her first year in our district.

“Ms. Garrison worked with students on functional and academic skills within the core and life skill classroom. Ms. Garrison started and supervised the “Lakes Lattes”; A student-run business within our building. Students utilized visual menus and assistive technology components to take and make custom orders. Students learned the value of job skills such as interviewing, talking with guests, proper workplace behavior, money skills, workplace wardrobe and safety. Ms. Garrison also weaved in transition planning for students that met their Individual Education Plan goals and services.

Ms. Garrison also worked strategically with the district transition specialist to coordinate field trips and with our in-building Career Tech Education Department to supervise weekly grocery shopping trips for our students. This provided a way for students to learn necessary budgeting and communication skills and help another department carry out plans for the Intro to Foods, Creative and Specialty Foods classes that are offered to all students at Lakes. This tremendous undertaking provided opportunities for students to be a part of their community while helping their fellow classmates behind the scenes.

I could not be more proud of the work that Ms. Garrison has done on behalf of her students and for Lakes Community High School. Her positive energy and willingness to go over and above truly make her an Outstanding Early Educator worthy of this award and recognition.”