INSPRA Recognizes Those Who Support District 99 Families

INSPRA Recognizes Those Who Support District 99 Families

DGS Principal Ed Schwartz, Scarlett O'Hara, Jade Toledano and Terry Pavesich

The Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) has recognized Scarlett O’Hara, Terry Pavesich, Diane Richard, Ed Schwartz and Jade Toledano with the Distinguished Service Award of Excellence for 2021-22. The award is the highest honor given by the organization.

“There are so many people within our district and in the wider community whose strong commitment and service make it possible for us to achieve our mission of supporting students,” says District 99 Superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele. “We are happy that INSPRA has recognized Scarlett, Terry, Diane, Ed and Jade and that we can celebrate their numerous contributions to District 99.” 

Those receiving the INSPRA Distinguished Service Award of Excellence for 2021-22 include:

  • Scarlett O'Hara and Jade Toledano: On the District 99 Board of Education this year, Jade is representing the student body at North High and Scarlett is representing the student body at South High. Both students have been engaged, respectful and brave during the time they’ve served. When they speak, the adults listen carefully. Jade and Scarlett have done a tremendous job in providing a voice for their fellow students, and the community has gained insight into what students want and need most of all–to be heard.
  • Terry Pavesich: Terry has served on the District 99 Board of Education since 2005 and is the parent of three South High graduates. She provides the perspective necessary to make decisions to put students first, and shows her support at numerous events throughout the year. She helps counsel the District 99 Education Foundation, and has led fundraisers that have raised thousands of dollars for our teacher grants. She’s volunteered her time and advocated for supporting Young Hearts for Life, which screens students for possible heart defects. Terry also championed installing a garden at our center for older students with special needs.

    (l-r): Diane Richard, Terry Pavesich and Julia Beckman, D99 Education Foundation President
  • Diane Richard: In response to the pandemic, our District 99 Education Foundation has enhanced its mission to support more students and families across our district. Diane, Education Foundation treasurer, is largely responsible for this critical shift. Diane is a parent of three graduates of South High and a former Special Services teacher at South High. She has served on the Foundation board for almost 15 years. With her diligent bookkeeping skills and her caring heart, Diane is passionate about the Foundation supporting District 99 students.
  • Ed Schwartz: Leading a school of over 2,600 students and 400 teachers and staff, Ed has served as principal of South High since 2014. He has worked in education for 33 years. After becoming principal, Ed realized that he needed to amplify his voice and presence in order to develop relationships more broadly across the community. As a result, he created short monthly video messages to connect with students and families to reach even more people. The result: A more positive and connected school culture and community.

Each year, INSPRA Distinguished Service Awards are presented to individuals from across the state who serve as ambassadors for public education. The mission of INSPRA is to provide a source of connection, collaboration and professional development for school communicators in order to strengthen support for Illinois public schools, which leads to greater student success. 

To learn more about INSPRA, visit