WOODSTOCK – Former Woodstock High School Assistant Principal Ron Bendis will be honored with the Woodstock School District 200 Education Foundation’s annual Susan Palmore Award of Excellence.
Bendis began his teaching career in 1975 in Ottawa, Illinois, before moving to Woodstock in 1982. He began teaching at the district the same year before getting promoted to assistant principal, a role he held for 26 years. The Illinois Principals Association named Bendis assistant principal of the year in 2009.
“Ron’s blend of toughness, empathy, humor and commitment is a model for administrators,” said Corey Tafoya, former Woodstock High School principal. “He never cared about the students’ background or excuses why they couldn’t do it. He forced them to believe in themselves even when everyone else had given up.”
The implementation of the computer-based system Academy of Changes, which helps students who are behind in credits make up work so they can graduate, is among Bendis’ accomplishments over the course of his career in District 200.
“The best students in our schools always have the support of the teachers and the administration,” said longtime Woodstock High School teacher Gordie Tebo, who is a Woodstock City Council member. “Ron, however, was the advocate for those students who found navigating through school a difficult journey.”
Bendis retired from the district in 2009.
He volunteers in the community at the Woodstock Food Pantry and PADS homeless shelter, and he also delivers food for Meals on Wheels.
Retired Woodstock High School teacher John Headley nominated Bendis for the award.
“At the community level, including this school district, we have all benefited from Ron Bendis,” Headley said. “He always put forth his best effort, whether it was at the high school, as the assistant principal or today, when he volunteers at the food pantry or at his church.”
The District 200 Educational Foundation award is named after former board member Susan Palmore. Palmore served on both the District 200 board and the foundation board before she died in 2012.
District officials will present Bendis with the award at the foundation’s annual Groundhog Dinner and Auction on Feb. 10.
Tickets to the event are available at the District 200 office or online at d200edfoundation.org.