DOWNERS GROVE – The Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58 announced that Todd Cherney, district technology technician, and Cheryl Lyons, Whittier Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, received the 2022 Distinguished Service Award.
The award program annually invites community members to nominate District 58 employees who exceed expectations and serve as inspirations to their community. Two winners are chosen each year: one teacher and one non-teaching staff member. View the 2022 DSA photo gallery at youtu.be/Bwu68v7srq8.
“Todd Cherney and Cheryl Lyons both embody District 58′s mission, and they are very deserving of this honor,” Superintendent Kevin Russell stated in a news release. “On behalf of District 58, I am thrilled to celebrate Mr. Cherney and Mrs. Lyons as this year’s Distinguished Service Award recipients.”
This year, 35 individuals and one group (53 staff members total) earned DSA nominations. An Education Foundation committee reviewed each nomination essay on an identity-blind basis to select the two winners.
“The Education Foundation is proud to support our incredible District 58 teachers and staff members through the Distinguished Service Award program,” DSA Chair Mia Churma stated in the release. “We already knew that District 58 has incredible staff, but after reading this year’s nomination essays, I am all the more amazed by the dedication and care that our staff exhibits, especially through the challenges of the past couple of years.”
Todd Cherney was nominated by his colleague, Assistant Director of Buildings and Grounds Geoff Neustadt, who described how Cherney consistently goes above and beyond to ensure all students and staff have the technology equipment needed to be successful. He also highlighted Cherney’s extensive institutional knowledge, helpful demeanor, strong work ethic and high level of expertise, particularly during District 58′s recent central office moves.
“Todd sees when others are struggling and jumps in to assist, always with a smile and compassion,” Neustadt said in the release. “Todd has a style that fits in perfectly with the family attitude of our district. Todd has made me a better person from countless situations working together for over 25 years.”
Lyons received two nominations – one from parents Megan Winthop and Christine Paulik, and one from parent Mindy Knox. Both nominations celebrated Lyons’s positivity, respectful attitude and how she goes above and beyond to connect with students and parents, particularly throughout the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She personally recognizes each student and highlights their interests in ways that make them feel truly valued and heard,” Winthrop and Paulik noted in the release. “She voluntarily forms after-school clubs to bring kids together. Inventive games are created to engage [and] motivate students each day. A student recalls, ‘I’ll never forget the week my teacher came by my house when I had to stay home, so I could still do the Secret Santa.’”
In addition, District 58 congratulates the 53 staff members who earned 2022 DSA nominations.
Learn more about the DSA program at www.dg58.org/community-engagement/distinguished-service-awards.