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Holly Jack Service Award

Wheaton Warrenville Assistant Wins Holly Jack Service Award

Mary Lou Sender, administrative assistant to the superintendent and school board of Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District 200, was the recipient of the sixth annual Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. Sender was presented the award during the secretary’s program on Friday morning by IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy and honored again at the third general session of the 2014 IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference.

The Holly Jack Award recognizes the demanding work of school district and board secretaries. Nominees must demonstrate performance, initiative, innovation, staff development, self-improvement, passion and dedication.

Sender was chosen from a list of 32 nominees. She has served CUSD 200 for 26 years, holding the position of administrative assistant to the superintendent and school board for the past 18 years.

In nominating Sender for the award, CUSD 200 Superintendent Jeff Schuler and school board members cited her ability to consistently perform above and beyond expectations. In the letter endorsing Sender for the honor, the board of education commented on her dedication to the district schools and community, as well as her personal initiative to pursue best practices in office management, leadership theory, technology and governance.

“In the school community, we face very high demands with few resources. Our kids deserve the best every day, and it is our duty to make sure that happens,” Sender said.

Always passionate about new and better professional development opportunities, Mary Lou Sender has a special connection to IASB and the award namesake. A friend of Holly Jack, Sender voiced her concern about the lack of profession development available for board secretaries and public school administrative assistants. She encouraged IASB to recognize the need for quality training opportunities and became one of the founding members of the secretary’s program that is now featured annually on Friday and Saturday of the Joint Annual Conference.

Sender has helped set the programming and direction for the training session, been a regular presenter at the annual conference, and worked to ensure outstanding speakers are scheduled each year. Describing Sender’s actions and influence over the secretaries program, her district colleagues said, “The learning, networking and mutual support enjoyed by participants, across all of Illinois, are directly due to the efforts of Mary Lou working alongside Holly Jack.”

“I was so humbled to be in the same category as Holly Jack,” said Sender of her long-time friend. “Holy was a servant of servants, and I’ve always wanted to be in that honor.”

Marie Slater, IASB past president and former board member in the Wheaton Warrenville district, said that Sender’s passion and tireless work ethic make her a well-deserving winner of the 2014 Holly Jack Award. “Her commitment to enhancing the opportunities for students through her role as a leader in 21st century public education is a strength that sets her apart,” Slater reiterated.

The district accommodates students in grades K-12 and has an enrollment of more than 13,000. The district, located in the DuPage division, encompasses more than 25 square miles serving students in 20 school buildings.

Nominations for the Holly Jack Award were made by district superintendents and school board presidents. A committee composed of individuals representing school board members, superintendents, district administrative assistants and IASB administrative assistants reviewed nominee applications and choose a winner in late October.

The award was created to honor the memory of the late Holly Jack, a long-time IASB employee, who served as a field services administrative assistant and was instrumental in developing the secretaries’ professional development programming that is offered at the Conference.

The award honors Holly Jack’s dedicated contributions to IASB and recognizes the exemplary work and valuable service provided by secretaries who serve their local boards of education.


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