Kate Lister and Yoli Maya Yeh Joseph were honored Monday, May 23, with Phyllis Ganser Outstanding PTA Volunteer of the Year Awards for the above and beyond support they gave students and parents at Evanston/Skokie School District 65 schools.

Corky Siegfriedt, a member of the Phyllis Ganser award committee, presented the awards.

Corky Siegfriedt reads the award citations. Credit: Adina Keeling

As President of the Haven Middle School PTA, Siegfriedt said, reading an excerpt from the nomination, Lister worked to build communications between the administration and families, particularly regarding the student’s wellbeing,

Before this school year, Lister was key to making sure the administration gave students the opportunity to tour the building, Siegfriedt read. This seemingly small step made students feel more comfortable and provided parents with helpful information.

“She always responds quickly and thoughtfully,” Siegfriedt read. “She’s always like this, working in all capacities without complaints.”

Joseph is president of both the Oakton Elementary PTA and the District 65 PTA Council. During the pandemic, Joseph made sure families at Oakton were kept informed, writing to them weekly, Siegfriedt said in her nomination.

Her messages were inclusive and centered on student and family wellness, Siegfriedt read. “A lot of PTAs faltered during the pandemic,” Siegfriedt read. Joseph “not only kept Oakton’s [PTA] together and thriving, she set an example for the whole district in her role as PTA council president.”

The award was named after Phyllis Ganser, who was an outstanding PTA volunteer at her children’s schools, Siegfriedt said. Ganser promoted the welfare of students while enthusiastically engaging others.

She “engaged and involved others, and she did this with an immeasurable spirit and great enthusiasm,” Siegfriedt read. “Today, these are the qualities we look for in our award recipients.”

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...

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