BSD2's Community Newsletter | September 5, 2018
Photo of Johnson students posing with the art they created in Frida Kahlo's after-school program.
$3 million grant will make Bensenville schools ‘places where everyone belongs.’
Over the next five years, Bensenville schools will receive $3 million to fund critical community schools initiatives through the Illinois State Board of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants program.

What are community schools?

"They’re schools that reach out to the entire community, making them places where everyone belongs," said Dr. James Stelter, District 2 Superintendent of Schools. "They’re not only places where students get an education. Families are also there, getting the services and resources they need to succeed, too. They’re incredibly valuable assets for the entire community."

In Bensenville, these community schools will be known as RISE Academies, with RISE standing for Resources Invested in Community Enrichment. This grant will provide $150,000 a year for the next five years to fund RISE Academies at each of Bensenville School District 2’s three schools and at Fenton High School.

Their programming will focus on such topics as ...

  • Academic Enrichment
  • Arts Integration
  • Technology
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • College and Career Readiness
  • Parent and Family Programming

District 2 and Fenton are partnering with the Frida Kahlo Community Organization to operate the RISE Academies. The Frida Kahlo Community Organization has many years of experience providing similar programs for Chicago Public Schools, and has already offered several after-school arts and dance classes for BSD2 students over the past two years. 

In addition to Frida Kahlo,seven other community-based organizations have also signed on to provide programming for the RISE Academies. Those partners include College of DuPage, Metropolitan Family Services’ DuPage Center, Bensenville Community Public Library, Mindful Practices, Columbia College of Chicago’s Department of Science & Mathematics’ “Scientists for Tomorrow” Program, University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, and Learning Dimensions.
Photo of BSD2 Superintendent Doctor Jim Stelter with a group of Tioga students
BSD2 superintendent selected for Erikson Institute Early Childhood Leadership Academy
Dr. James Stelter, Bensenville School District 2 Superintendent of Schools, was recently selected for the Erikson Institute’s 2018 McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows Program.

This program is part of Erikson Institute’s Early Childhood Leadership Academy. Its executive-level, multi-day sessions are specifically designed to provide influential leaders in the judicial, political, and civic sectors with an up-to-date, research-based understanding of child development. Specifically, they will address such critical issues as the connection between adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress; the science of brain development; the importance of secure attachment and relationships; early childhood systems; demographic shifts in the child population in Illinois; recruiting and retaining a qualified and diverse workforce; and early childhood development as a cost-effective investment for communities and society as a whole.

Equipped with this knowledge, leaders like Dr. Stelter can influence early childhood education and produce positive outcomes for young children and their families by making informed policy and resource allocation decisions in their respective fields.

“I am excited to join this esteemed group of policy and education leaders who care as much as we do in Bensenville about ensuring our youngest children are positioned to thrive and grow in our schools,” said Dr. Stelter. “I look forward to building my knowledge and expertise to apply it here in Bensenville.”
Photo of Dr. Tyrone Howard delivering his keynote address during the 2018 BSD2 Welcome Day.
Dr. Tyrone Howard delivers Bensenville School District 2’s keynote speech for Welcome Day 
During the District's 2018 Welcome Day on August 21, Dr. Tyrone Howard delivered a keynote speech on "Equity & Culture in Schools."

"Equity work is not always comfortable. Equity work sometimes makes us feel a little bit uneasy," said Dr. Howard to the BSD2 teachers and staff gathered in teh Blackhawk Middle School auditorium to hear his remarks. "But look, folks, if us being uncomfortable for an hour talking about equity issues helps create classrooms where our students are more comfortable, then I think that’s the price that we have to pay. And if we’re uncomfortable for just an hour around some of the issues that I’m going to share with you today, if we’re uncomfortable for an hour, think about how some of our students feel every single day in classrooms."

Dr. Howard is a Professor of Education and the Associate Dean for Equity & Inclusion in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Dr. Howard is not alone in asserting that the promise of universal education too often falls short in the U.S., especially for students of color. What sets him apart is his determination to find ways to help school systems and students succeed.

His definitive book,  Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools , builds on three studies that investigated schools successful in closing the achievement gap. Dr. Howard shows how adopting greater awareness and comprehensive understanding of race and culture can improve educational outcomes.

A new year brings new teachers, administrators, and staff members to our schools and classrooms.
Twenty-six new staff members joined District 2 for the 2018-19 school year.
The new teachers, administrators, and staff members all went through the District’s two-day orientation program and were paired with mentors to assist them with their transitions into their new teaching positions.

District 2 is excited to have such a talented group of educators preparing its students for a world of opportunities!


  • Nicole Mrowice, Assistant Principal
  • Ashleigh Dunbaugh, Sixth-Grade Math Teacher
  • Lauren Fabbri, Eighth-Grade Science Teacher
  • Kaitlin Klingler, Special Education English/Language Arts Teacher
  • Carly Boeing, Sixth-Grade English/Language Arts Teacher
  • Spencer Lent, Music Teacher
  • Victoria Mazzone, Sixth-Grade Social Studies Teacher
  • Jennifer McGraw, Special Education Math and English/Language Arts Teacher
  • Leigh Anne Renk-Smith, Encore/Communications Teacher
  • Suzanne Richardson, Art Teacher
  • Christina Wallace, Physical Education Teacher


  • Noreen Ahmad, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Amanda Hannapel, Fourth-Grade Teacher
  • Marie Lizak, Special Education Self-Contained Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
  • Virginia Meglio, School Social Worker
  • Karina Perez, Bilingual School Psychologist
  • Maria Pruitt, English as a Second Language/Bilingual Teacher
  • Elizabeth Velasco, Bilingual First-Grade Teacher


  • Victoria Austin, Special Education Teacher
  • Heather Chika, Special Education Teacher
  • Kathryn Parry, Second-Grade Teacher
  • Elida Patiño, English as a Second Language/Spanish Teacher
  • Cynthia Saavedra, Sheltered Third-Grade Teacher
  • Nicole Swick, Fifth-Grade Teacher
  • Bridget Tello, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Jacqueline Valenzuela, Bilingual Second-Grade Teacher
Bensenville School District 2
210 S. Church Street
Bensenville, IL 60106