A Message from the Superintendent
A little about me :)
Dear D41 Community,
Now that I have the first 13 weeks under my belt, I wanted to take an opportunity to touch base and share some additional information with you.
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the extremely warm welcome. The last 13 weeks have gone by with lightning speed. I can honestly say that there is not one minute of one day that moves slowly in D41. My Entry Plan has allowed me to prioritize how and where I devote my time and energy. Beginning next week, I will be prioritizing time spent in the schools. The first few weeks have been filled with meeting with people, groups, organizations, committees, community leaders, etc. I look forward to holding time on my schedule that belongs to the schools and the people in them.
With all of the excitement of summer construction, the Hadley Ribbon Cutting and opening the school year, I did not get an opportunity to share much about myself on a more personal level. I like to think that serving as superintendent makes me a better mom and that being a mom makes me a better superintendent. That being said, let me take a few minutes to share a bit about myself outside of work so that you better understand what guides my actions and decisions as the leader of D41.
I am a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law, a friend and a crazy pet-lover. I hope and dream to add Grandma to this list in the future. I lost both of my parents to cancer so I am active in a variety of charitable organizations supporting cancer research and funding. Because I am an “only”, I was a hospice caregiver for both of my parents. Through each of these journeys, I met many amazing people and learned many amazing lessons. I learned about the importance of compassion, humility and humor. I learned how to advocate for the needs of others and work tirelessly on behalf of others. I learned how to be the calm in the face of the storm and to be someone who can always be counted on to do what it takes. These lessons served me well then and they serve me well now.
This past summer, we added a Great Dane puppy to our family. Against my husband’s better judgement, I thought that a puppy sounded like a great idea on top of starting a new job :) What I have discovered is that Delilah provides me with a better sense of home/work balance. She is now 7 months old and over 100 lbs. I have no choice but to put work aside at night. You simply cannot ignore a 100 lb “toddler” getting into non-stop mischief. Our vet tells us that adolescence is quickly approaching and that we should expect Delilah to act like a teen. Wish us luck!
I have worked in a variety of roles in a variety of organizations on my path to the superintendency. My background in special education has served me well throughout the years. It has shaped who I am as an educator and as a leader. Knowing that D41 was in the early years of implementing their Inclusive Practices and shifting their model drove my decision to apply and to eagerly accept the position. I am excited about the opportunity to serve all students, staff members and families as we continue on this journey.
I use the word journey intentionally when I talk about inclusion. The beauty and the challenge of inclusion is that the work is never really done. The reality is that we are always having to dig deeper, try harder and learn new skills and strategies. Not just for the benefit of students who have unique needs; but for all students. I ask you to partner with us on this journey because together we make a stronger team. Together we can see challenges as opportunities and push each other to be better than we were the day before. To do the hard work that needs to be done and take the opportunities to celebrate our successes in a very loud and proud way.
Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski
Glen Ellyn School District 41