Dear Parents and Guardians,
I began my journey with the St. Isidore community about 19 years ago. My family and I had just moved to Bartlett and finding a church to call home was important to us. We visited a few closer to our home, but we didn’t feel moved until we walked into St. Isidore. The Holy Spirit was most certainly at work that day because as I was looking through the bulletin after Mass I saw a posting for a middle school Social Studies teacher with an endorsement in Spanish. Well goodness, that was an exact fit for me. I immediately called the principal, Dr. Sandy Renehan, and scheduled an interview. Once again, the Holy Spirit was at work because I knew the second I walked through the main school doors I had found my home. Fast forward 18 years and I was again interviewing for a position at St. Isidore; but this time as the school principal. As I walked through the church doors for my first interview in the process, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me, and I knew I was coming back home.
Even though I have been a part of the St. Isidore community for close to two decades, change and growth have been underlying themes this school year. As we rang the original school bell on the first day of school, no one could have imagined we would be in the middle of a global pandemic on the last day of school. Each day of the 4th quarter, our students, staff, and families have shown enormous growth in resiliency and flexibility. I have worked hard to navigate us through this pandemic, and I appreciate your patience and understanding more than you know. Unfortunately, I just don’t have answers about what fall will look like. I promise you, I will continue ongoing communication as we receive information from ISBE and our Bishop.
With that said, we are working on two different plans so we are prepared for the fall. The school office is continuing to plan as if we are to come back in August; however, the Diocese of Joliet, the Catholic Schools Office, our attorneys, and our insurance carrier are also working on plans for what remote learning would look like should we not be able to return right away. We do know that whether we return in August or October, our staff will look a bit different. It is time to say good-bye to Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Kuchler. We thank them both for their dedication to our school and parish and wish them both well on their next endeavors. They are part of our family and will always remain a part of our community. While we will miss Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Kuchler, we are excited to welcome our new staff members who will continue to move St. Isidore Catholic School into the new decade.
Miss Alexxis Johnson will be the 5th grade homeroom teacher and teach middle school ELA. Miss Johnson is a proud product of Catholic education, graduating from St. Walter School in 2011 and St. Francis High School in 2015. After high school, Miss Johnson attended University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Secondary Education. Miss Johnson currently teaches middle school ELA at Our Lady of Peace in Darien; and is beyond excited to join us here at St. Isidore. We also welcome Ms. Francesca Riddick to our full-time staff. Ms. Riddick and Mrs. Erika Williams will lead our SPED/Resource team. Ms. Riddick joins us with 19 years’ experience as a Special Education Resource teacher in Schaumburg District 54 where she was responsible for creating and implementing IEP’s, as well as implementing and monitoring tier two and tier three academic and behavioral strategies districtwide. While working full time in District 54, Ms. Riddick served as the part time Director of Religious Education at Sacred Heart Parish in Lombard from 2007-2017. While Ms. Riddick enjoyed her 19 years in District 54, she began looking to transfer to Catholic schools as the State of Illinois passed mandatory curriculum changes contrary to Catholic faith teachings. Teaming with Ms. Riddick, Mrs. Erika Williams will move from preschool aide to SPED/Resource Teacher. Mrs. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Texas A&M and we are super excited to have her expertise in this area. Mrs. Williams has been a pure delight for me to get to know and I can’t wait to watch her grow our resource department. To round out this team, we will continue to contract with Amita Health for a school social worker three days per week, and collaborate with District 93 for OT and SLP services.
While I can’t say what the fall will bring, I am excited for next year. Mrs. Robinson joked with me at one point during the remote learning process that I should write a book about managing a crisis as a school principal. I’ve served as principal at two other Diocesan schools, each school having one major crisis occur during my tenure there; therefore, I am counting COVID-19 as my crisis here. I am proud to stand with you, as your principal, through this pandemic and I look forward to the day we can celebrate our first school Mass together. Beware, I am a hugger.
With love and devotion,