Several McHenry County school administrators have been recognized by the Illinois Principals Association as the best leaders in the Kishwaukee Region.
The region covers five counties – Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, DeKalb and Kane – and has more than 600 members, said Bridget Belcastro, Johnsburg Elementary School principal and IPA Kishwaukee state director.
“It’s a big honor to have been recognized,” Belcastro said, adding that awards will be presented in February.
The Superintendent of the Year award will go to Fox River Grove School District 3 Superintendent Tim Mahaffy, Belcastro said.
The award was developed to honor superintendents who support the IPA and encourage their district leaders to attend the professional development conference sponsored by the IPA, Belcastro said. Two regional superintendents are awarded, one for each half of the region, she said.
“Having that support system of colleagues was important in my development, so I’ve always encouraged that for the principals that I’ve had as superintendent,” Mahaffy said.
Sandy Ozimek, principal at Algonquin Road Elementary School, said she nominated Mahaffy because he has all the skills that encompass a good superintendent.
As the district’s superintendent and business manager, Mahaffy “takes a collaborative leadership approach while being fiscally responsible,” Ozimek said.
He’s also served as a principal himself at Fox River Grove Middle School, Ozimek said, which helps him to be a great role model and mentor for teachers and principals in the district.
“I think the community is very lucky to have him in that role,” Ozimek said.
The Reaching Out and Building Bridges Award will go to Johnsburg Junior High School Assistant Principal Eric Dohrmann and Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, Belcastro said. She nominated Dohrmann for the award, which recognizes schools and organizations in the community that work together to provided service to students.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County helps train Johnsburg High School students to be mentors to students in third through eighth grade, Belcastro said, and Dohrmann oversees the program.
“The younger students are impacted in a positive way,” Belcastro said. “They see potential for themselves in their mentors.”
High school students benefit, too, she said, by learning problem-solving skills, listening skills and empathy.
Administrators also being recognized in February include Cary-Grove High School Vice Principal Rebecca Saffert, Martin Elementary School Principal Jim Stotz and Carpentersville School District 300’s Administrative Director of Professional Development Lindsay Jonas.