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Kaneland Connection: Big honors for Kaneland educators

Patti Reeder and Kris Weiss went to last week’s Educator of the Year Awards Banquet in St. Charles with the idea that they were thrilled to even be nominated for such prestigious awards.

Neither of the Kaneland Harter Middle School educators thought to have a speech prepared, but both received a pleasant surprise when they emerged as winners. Weiss, the assistant principal at Harter, was named the county’s administrator of the year. Reeder, an eighth-grade math teacher, was named middle school teacher of the year.

Weiss said her experience is that educators tend to be humble and do not expect to be honored. She said she was appreciative that she was nominated, with efforts that followed to help her earn the award. And she said it’s quite a feat to win, considering how many high-quality administrators there are in the county. But she said she had not thought much about such a possibility.

“It’s what I do,” Weiss said. “It’s my job. I love the job, and I love the kids. The accolades are nice.

“It’s a great honor, and it’s one of the things I can say with pride, as the years go on, that I was the administrator of the year in the county.”

Reeder said she was nominated by language arts teacher Amy Pifer, who put together a book with letters written by Reeder’s former students. Reeder said she stayed up all night reading the letters, and “some of them made me cry.”

“I always will treasure that,” she said.

Weiss, a Kaneland graduate, is in her 13th year of working with the district and her sixth as assistant principal. She previously worked as a dean and a teacher.

Reeder is in her 10th year with the district. She mostly has taught math, but she also has taught civics and science. And she said she always has taught the eighth-grade level, which is important to her. She said she was inspired by her eighth-grade math teacher, who played a key role in her decision to become a teacher.

Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said, “We are very proud of Kris and Patti.”

“The recognition is certainly very deserved,” Schuler said. “It was very clear through the letters that were written on behalf of Kris and Patti that they are valued members of our learning community. We are extremely pleased that they were honored on Friday night.”

Kaneland board meeting

The Kaneland School District 302 board will meet at 7 p.m. today at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove. At the meeting, new board members Pedro Rivas and Veronica Bruhl will be sworn in. And Cheryl Kraupse, the board’s president, will begin her new term as well.

Also on the agenda is the presentation of the bullying task force report, as well as the approval of recommended changes in the district’s student handbook.

The bullying presentation will be made by Sarah Mumm and Erika Schlichter, the district’s directors of educational services for kindergarten through fifth grade and sixth through 12th grades, respectively.

According to the agenda, “the board will hear an update on the work of the bullying task force, which was created during the 2012-2013 school year for the purpose of studying the issue of bullying within schools and making recommendations as to future improvements.”

In September, members of an anti-bullying group, Knights Against Bullying, packed a meeting of the school board, demanding action to address bullying in the district. Shortly after that, the task force was formed.

• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at

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