Greenwood School’s new addition to honor dedicated educators
By Dan Moran firstname.lastname@example.org | @NewsSunDanMoran October 14, 2013 6:54PM
Jan Cesar, an 18-year Greenwood teacher who passed away in 2012 following a battle with cancer, will be honored with a plaque naming the expansion in their honor. | FILE PHOTO
Updated: November 16, 2013 6:06AM
Two longtime educators at Greenwood Elementary School will have their names attached to the new eight-classroom addition at the North Avenue building during a grand opening and dedication ceremony on Oct. 30.
Jan Cesar, an 18-year Greenwood teacher who passed away in 2012 following a battle with cancer, and Nancy Johnson, who spent the bulk of a 31-year District 60 career at Greenwood, will be honored with a plaque naming the expansion in their honor.
Greenwood Principal Joyce Meyer requested the designations at a Sept. 24 Board of Education meeting, saying both Cesar and Johnson “dedicated their lives to educating our students and instilling in them the drive to continue to pursue learning throughout their lifetimes.”
“Mrs. Cesar exemplified the very best qualities of an educator whose passion for teaching was evident in every moment of her 18 years of service at Greenwood School,” Meyer told the board, adding that she considered Cesar “a shining star and a model of excellence for all to emulate.”
“Mrs. Cesar distinguished herself because she did not keep her greatness to herself, but she instilled greatness and passion for learning into her students and colleagues,” Meyer said. “She was a loving, caring, nurturing educator who created a sense of family and community in her classroom. Jan Cesar was truly loved because she made a difference in the lives of everyone she met.”
Cesar passed away in September 2012 at age 58 following a battle with breast cancer that she fought with the support of Greenwood employees and students. In 2011, after she had returned to the school following months of treatment, she described Greenwood as “my happy place. ... There’s so much energy that children have that you can pick up on.”
Johnson, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 school year, was an October 2012 recipient of a “Those Who Excel” Classroom Teacher Award from the Illinois State Board of Education. Meyer told the board last month that Johnson was “an exemplary model of excellence for her students and colleagues.”
“She was an exemplary educator, and even more importantly, an exemplary person of character,” Meyer said. “Her enthusiasm, positive attitude and passion for learning were contagious. Ms. Johnson led by example, and was a model for being a ‘life-long’ learner.”
Meyer added that Johnson was “hailed the ‘Queen of Technology’ for District 60. She shared her passion for technology with her students and colleagues, introducing both to new developments in the field, and helping others implement technology in the classroom.”
Both Cesar and Johnson were involved in the planning process for the addition to Greenwood, which was part of District 60’s ongoing $37.7 million effort to add classroom space and install updated technology at 12 different schools. Cesar passed away around the time ground was broken on the project.
After initially considering a request to rename the entire Greenwood building for Cesar and Johnson, the Board of Education approved the naming of the addition in their honor at its Oct. 8 meeting.