D-70’s Ovassapian earns state honor
District 70 board member Julie Damenti (from left to right), board Vice President Tom Vickers, board member Ann Brandt, Superintendent Guy Schumacher and board President Maryann Ovassapian listen to Butterfield School Principal Candice Kehoe during a tour
Updated: October 18, 2012 9:42AM
LIBERTYVILLE — Even though Maryann Ovassapian doesn’t have children still in District 70 schools, she almost went to this year’s Curriculum Night at Highland Middle School.
“They are all my babies,” Ovassapian, the school board president, said of the district’s students. “And I still have family in the district. I go to open houses at Butterfield School for my nieces and nephews.
“I am really happy on the school board. It’s really nice to go into a school and still have family there. It is a nice family district. Regardless of whether I have my own children in the district or not, I can still serve the community. It is a way to show my gratitude to the district. My children came out of a great district. It is my way of giving back.”
It is that dedication to the district that helped earn Ovassapian a Those Who Excel Award from the state, an honor she will be bestowed with Saturday in Normal.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the program annually recognizes and honors people who have made outstanding contributions to public and nonpublic elementary and secondary education.
“The high caliber of this year’s recipients is an excellent example of the outstanding human resources in classrooms, schools and districts across the state,” state Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch said. “It is an honor and privilege to recognize outstanding Illinois educators, administrators, support personnel and community members who go above and beyond on a daily basis to serve our students.”
District 70 Superintendent Guy Schumacher nominated Ovassapian for the award, writing up her accolades for the recognition.
Ovassapian, who was taken by surprise by the honor, said Schumacher’s action shows how he and the board are in sync, working to benefit the district’s students.
“I was touched and moved that Dr. Schumacher wanted to nominate me for the Those Who Excel Award,” Ovassapian said. “We work well together. It is his way of showing appreciation for what I do and recognizing my effort.”
A six-year member of the board, Ovassapian has served as president for the past 18 months. She includes her school board duties with her work as a labor and delivery nurse, and her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Until recently, she also cared for her 92-year-old father, but he has moved into an assisted living facility.
“I do make time,” Ovassapian said of her family, work and school board duties. “As a nurse, I work some weekend shifts, so that helps. But like anyone else, I have to balance hats. I am no different.’
Ovassapian says she is not ready to leave the school board and loves to work on behalf of the district’s students.
“It’s a very committed district and a committed school board with the same overall goal for children: to do what we can to make it a good district, with a strong foundation of learning,” she said. “We want all of our kids to be prepared to live and work in the 21st century. That is our goal.”