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New Berlin CUSD 16 board secretary wins 2011 Holly Jack Award

Dottie Crews, who has served 27 years as the administrative district secretary in New Berlin CUSD 16, Loami, received this year’s Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award at the 79 th Joint Annual Conference.

Crews, one of 25 nominees for the award, has been assistant to three superintendents and served as the high school secretary prior to working in the central office. CUSD 16 is a unit district with approximately 820 students in grades pre-K through 12.

Help from her district secretary when she was in high school actually spurred Crews to follow the same career path, she said. Crews also credited her also with showing her how to assist people in need.

In their nomination, New Berlin superintendent Valerie Carr and District 16 past board president Richard Behl noted some of Crew’s specific accomplishments, including her work as the district’s contact with a local bank that hosts an Angel Tree for children in the district who would otherwise not have gifts during the holiday season.

Carr also mentioned the tireless work Crews put in during the construction of a new elementary school, assuring that all necessary meetings with architects and various contractors were scheduled as needed.

“Her great sense of humor, wisdom, excellent secretarial skills, and her genuine care for all those she has served have been a gift to the district,” Carr wrote. “She exhibits the characteristics outlined in the Holly Jack Award every day. She is one in a million.”

Accepting the award on Sunday, Nov. 20, at the 2011 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago, Crews’ remarks drew laughter when she talked about starting her district career with a mimeograph machine, a manual typewriter and “a calculator half as big as my desk.”

During her tenure in the district, she said she has worked with 19 board members and 16 principals, and has taken minutes at 336 board meetings, “not counting special meetings.”

Crews will be ending her career upon retirement in June 2012.

A selection committee of school board members, school business officials, district administrative assistants and IASB administrative assistants selected Crews in October.

Nominations are made by district superintendents and school board presidents. The judges considered the following criteria: performance, initiative, innovation, staff development, self-improvement, passion for public education, and dedication. Letters of support were also accepted.

This was the third year for the award, which was created to honor the memory of Holly Jack, a long-time IASB employee, who served as a field services administrative assistant and was instrumental in promoting and developing the secretaries’ program that is offered at the Conference.

The award is to honor Holly’s contribution and memory and to recognize the extraordinary work and valuable service provided by secretaries who serve and assist their local boards of education.


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