James Wilczynski

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Each year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) honors exemplary teachers, administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteers, Board members and teams from school districts across the state. Last October, three staff members, one team and a School Board member from Evanston Township High School received recognition from ISBE’s “Those Who Excel” recognition program for 2018-19.

Marla Seibold, a studio art, painting and ceramics teacher in the ETHS Visual Arts Department since 1988, received an Award of Merit in the Classroom Teacher category. She has built an environment of trust that fosters the risk-taking necessary for students to create and share their art with others while constantly refining their craft. As an educational leader, her mentorship of department colleagues and other educators is instrumental in helping students reach their potential and succeed in their educational pursuits. In addition to her work inside the classroom, Ms. Seibold has helped coordinate the annual Empty Bowl event since its launch at ETHS 18 years ago, raising awareness and funds in the fight against hunger.

Ms. Seibold models the respect and collaboration she teaches her students to have for themselves and their community. One former student commented, “Marla spoke about my work as if she were a peer… I saw this same respect in the way she spoke with all of her students, her work study staff, students in the ceramics club, and the many students who spent as much time as they could in the ceramics classroom on their lunches and free periods.”

The ChromeZone Team, a group of ETHS staff and students who support the school’s 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, received an Award of Recognition in the Team category. The ChromeZone Team has met a variety of challenges from developing a student internship program to repairing damaged Chromebooks. The team manages over 200 loaner devices and provides daily technical support, helping ensure every ETHS student is prepared for class. In addition to working with students to integrate technology in meaningful and productive ways, the ChromeZone Team continues to explore training and digital citizenship opportunities.

Takumi Iseda received an Award of Excellence in the Educational Support Personnel category for her work as the former Communications Coordinator at ETHS. Her expertise in strategic communication planning, public/media relations, and event planning combine to deliver a wealth of information about ETHS within a welcoming environment. Ms. Iseda, currently the Director of Communications at ETHS, contributes to numerous efforts formed around ETHS’s dedication to equity. She has facilitated SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) sessions and has been an influential member of the District Equity and Leadership Team (DELT). She has also collaborated with colleagues to help organize the Asian & Middle Eastern Student Summit and the AAHA (Asian American Heritage Alliance) student club.

In the category of Board Member, Mark Metz received an Award of Excellence. Known for giving back to the Evanston community, Mr. Metz has been actively involved in many local organizations and activities, including youth baseball. Since joining the ETHS Board of Education in 2009, he has furthered the District’s focus on policies that combat institutional racism and racial injustice. Leading his school board colleagues on efforts to de-track ETHS courses, Mr. Metz was also instrumental in writing and adopting a Statement on Equity and Excellence that continues to inform discussions and decisions. Mr. Metz served twice as District 202 Board president and presented on equity efforts at the Illinois Association of School Boards conference.

James Wilczynski received an Award of Merit in the Student Support Personnel category. For the past 18 years at ETHS, Dr. Wilczynski has helped students achieve personal and academic success through support teams, parent partnerships and engaging directly with students. A parent of a former student commented, “Dr. Wilczynski always went above and beyond what was expected of him in the fulfillment of his responsibilities”, and credited him with the student’s successful admission to the college of her choice. A longtime advocate of restorative justice, Dr. Wilczynski has published articles on effective school discipline policies and assisted in developing the alternative-to-suspension program, resulting in students receiving more instructional time and necessary supports.