• All award incentives were contributed by Dr. Carrie Ablin, Director of Student Services, Ms. Deborah Clayton, Chief School Business Official, Ms. Kimberly Cook, Fieldcrest's Principal,          and Ms. Tiffany Rucker, Markham Park's Principal



  • Chateaux School - Mr. Kopale

    by Chateaux Year Published: 2020

    Mr. Kopale has been the PE teacher at Chateaux for over 20 years. He is coach of the basketball team and was part of the team responsible for what we now know as our district-wide basketball program and culminating March Madness tournament that our students and community look forward to each and every year.  He has coached many young boys and girls who have gone on to great success on the middle school and high school level not only athletically but academically as well. Mr. Kopale or “COACH” as many of the children affectionately call him gives unselfishly back to the students of Chateaux and the staff.  Pizza Lunches, Frosty treats, free gym time and countless incentives are just some of the things he gives to encourage our students to always give their very best, inside and outside of the gym.  Mr. Kopale is always willing to lend a helping hand at Chateaux.  You can always count on him to remember each and every one of his students and make sure that they are doing their very best!  Students constantly return back to Chateaux to say hello, give him and update on their accomplishments and make sure that Mr. Kopale knows that they are always thinking of him.  It’s his ability to show how proud he is of them, which keeps them coming back!  Mr. Kopale helps to make Chateaux School one of the best in the Southland!  Thank you for all that you do for us, the children and community of Chateaux School and PHESD144! #WE ARE ONE!

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  • Fieldcrest School - Ms. Piepenbrink

    by Fieldcrest Year Published: 2020

    Ms. Piepenbrink (Ms. P) is a Social Worker at District 144. This is her 4th year in the district. She has been at Prairie Hills Jr. High for 3 years, and this is her 1st year split between Prairie Hills Jr. High and Fieldcrest Elementary. Ms. P students she works with are her passion. The rapport she builds with her students and watching them grow and do better for themselves even in the smallest thing is rewarding. She is always there to listen to them no matter the case or how right or wrong they are because they still deserve to be heard. They have a voice and she wants to be the ears that listen because they may not have that in their other environments. Ms. Piepenbrink grew up in the Northwest suburbs and yes, she is a HUGE CUBS FAN! She loves the Blackhawks, Bears and Bulls too. She also loves to travel and been to London twice, and have family that live there. She has also been to Amsterdam and Prague. She has also been to Puerto Rico, Cancun, Hawaii, and other places in the US. Ms. P also has been to Hollywood and attended a taping of the Ellen DeGeneres show, which was high up on one of the best days of her life. In addition to travel, she loves dogs, the beach, swimming, and dolphins. Thank you to the staff at Fieldcrest who have welcomed her in her 1st year here under the most crazy and unforeseen circumstances we are in. You all have been great to Ms. P so far, easy going, flexible, and made her feel welcomed.

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  • Highlands School - Ms. Gewont

    by Highlands Year Published: 2020

    When you think of a teacher that commits to teaching with a sincere Heart, Ms. Gewont comes to mind! Ms. Gewont is a veteran teacher at Highlands and continues to challenge our Kindergarten students to excel. As a key team player on our Primary team, she continues to ask imperative questions, keep everyone informed and on task.  Ms. Gewont is also one of our school’s representatives for No Child Left Behind.  Ms. Gewont continues to go the extra mile to ensure every kindergarten student is prepared for 1st grade and beyond.  Ms. Gewont believes that communication is key, and every week she sends newsletters home to keep all kindergarten parents informed.  As you can see, Ms. Gewont not only talks about being the Best, she is one of the BEST! Go Ms. Gewont!  We appreciate your commitment to our students.  Congratulations!     


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  • Mae Jemison School - Ms. Gregus

    by Mae Jemison Year Published: 2020

    Ms. Gregus, resource teacher, is an invaluable asset to Mae Jemison School. She works diligently with students, and she is always willing to lend a helping hand to her colleagues. Ms Gregus helps to make Mae Jemison a wonderful place to be by making contributions to our team efforts.

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  • Markham Park School - Ms. Bayan

    by Markham Park Year Published: 2020

    December Teacher of the Month is Ms. Taraneh Bayan. The staff has lots of good things to say about our first year teacher. She has thoughtful and caring conversations with her students. She stays on top of her students. She is very deserving of the Teacher of the Month. Ms. Bayan is new but she rocks!! She jumped right in and took charge.

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  • Nob Hill School - Ms. Turkington

    by Nob Hill Year Published: 2020

    This is Ms. Turkington’s 11th year in district. She has worked at The Primary Academic Center- (PAC-when they were open), Fieldcrest, The Jr. High, The Primary Learning Center (PLC) and Nob Hill.  She enjoys ANYTHING arts and crafts related and cooking. She loves traveling, throwing dinner parties, and planning different events/activities. She also enjoys reading and watching reality T.V. shows. 


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  • Prairie-Hills Jr. High School - Ms. Noel

    by PHJH Year Published: 2020

    Please help me congratulate our December Teacher of the Month, Coach Drain! Coach Drain has over 29 years' experience teaching PE and health. She has been with District 144 for four years. Currently she is the Girls Track and Girls Basketball Coach. Coach Drain has 2 children: one son and one daughter. She has 10 siblings, and she is number ten in the bunch! Coach Drain’s hobbies are reading, shopping and sports (spectating as well as taking part). Some of Coach Drain’s highlights here at P.H.J.H include the following:  

    State High Jumpers (Aerion Munir-Jones (7th) and Jamilia Mitchell (5th) 

    2017 - Regional champions 7th and 8th grade levels 

    2018 - Regional champions 7th and 8th grade levels 

    2019 - Regional Champs, Sectional Champs, and State Appearance on the 7th grade level with Mr. R. Cook 

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  • Primary Learning Center - Ms. Hoy

    by PLC Year Published: 2020

    She has worked in the district for only a year as a Pre-K Teacher but has been absorbing everything that District 144 has to offer.  She can be seen singing, reading or just sharing a joy of learning with her students. Ms. Hoy says, that “Family time is her Favorite time!” and she lives by the mantra that  “Everyday is an opportunity to make it your best day and [for that she] is thankful for each given opportunity.”

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