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South says goodbye: The Oracle hightlights six of the 18 South staff members retiring this 2014-2015 school year

South says goodbye: The Oracle hightlights six of the 18 South staff members retiring this 2014-2015 school year

Dr. Nancy Giebel

By Hannah Buchband, staff writer

For over three decades, Dr. Nancy Giebel, a Physical Education (PE) teacher, has seen generations of South students move in and out of high school, a steady ebb and flow of incoming freshmen and outgoing seniors. An outstanding constant against the continual change of faces amongst the South population, Giebel’s 34th year at South is coming to a close. A beloved icon of South’s administrative and athletic departments, Giebel announced that she would retire this year.

Over the course of these 34 years, Giebel has worked as a Physical Education and Health teacher, a coach for numerous sports, an administrator and an athletic director. She firmly believes that her work at South has been beneficial for her career due to the fact that many staff members have encouraged her to push herself to gain experience, which eventually led to her receiving various honors and awards. However, according to Giebel, the most rewarding part about being a South faculty member is witnessing students prosper both inside and outside of school.

“Many students take advantage of all the opportunities available to them to help them mature and grow […],” Giebel said. “It’s fun to watch former students come back to Glenview with their own sons or daughters. It’s a testament to the fact they had a positive experience here and want their children to have the same experiences and opportunities.”

Several students under Giebel’s coaching and teaching have given Giebel credit for their positive experiences at South. One such student, senior tennis and badminton player Emily Davenport is grateful for Giebel’s welcoming attitude towards her when she was a freshman.

“She made me really comfortable coming into my freshman year, and just having her as the coach of my tennis team and getting to know some of the girls there, along with her, made transitioning into high school much easier,” Davenport said.

Also a tennis and badminton player under Giebel’s coaching, senior Shana Michael has viewed Giebel as a role model since day one of freshman year after hearing positive remarks about Giebel from her older sister.

“She’s definitely a motherly figure to me, especially when I was a freshman and I didn’t really know what was going on,” Michael said. “She was my coach for two sports freshman year, and in both of them, she helped me learn about other people on the team and to be open. She took care of us like she was our mom.”

South Administrative Assistant Christine Valles considers herself very good friends and a close confidant to Giebel. According to Valles, Giebel has an endless amount of positive attributes that make up her character.

“[Giebel] is very intelligent, she’s got a lot of integrity, she’s responsible, she’s a very caring person, and she’s great at her job,” Valles said. “I’ve seen her in action with her students. I’ve seen the way she handles herself, the way she conducts herself in the classroom, and how she approaches her job in terms of preparation and research before she’s teaching something. She’s a consummate professional.”

Valles also values the knowledge and experience Giebel has brought to the faculty at South. Valles says that everything Giebel has learned about being a teacher she passes on to her colleagues.

“[She shares] everything she has learned,” Valles said. “If the newer teachers come in needing information or need to be mentored, […] they can go to her because she’s got the wealth of knowledge and the years of experience behind her.”

Davenport, Michael, and Valles have all remarked on how much they have learned from Giebel. Valles admires her integrity and professionalism, while Davenport has learned values of respect from her years of athletics under Giebel’s coaching.

“She talks a lot about first impressions and I’ve really taken away from that,” Davenport said. “Like when we go to a school, she says to make a good impression [and] have good sportsmanship, because that’s how everyone is going to remember you. And that’s how I remember her.”

Michael, however, remarks that she has learned to move on and look to the future for new opportunities from Giebel.

“I’ve learned to never doubt myself from her,” Michael said. “If I was in a game and I was frustrated because I was losing by a lot, she’d always tell me ‘It’s going to be okay, you’ll learn from this. And if you don’t do well or if you lose, it’s fine. You always have the next game, and there’s always something else you can win and be good at.’ And I think that’s probably something I’m going to keep for the rest of my life.”

According to Giebel, another rewarding thing about working at South is seeing the effect of her time and effort put into the students’ lives.

“It is so fun to see students have goals and dreams and aspirations,” Giebel said. “It is even more fun to see them come back to GBS and share their experiences or read about their accomplishments in the papers.  [I love seeing] that they have taken your advice or passed forward some knowledge and experience to help others become better members of society.”

Giebel’s lasting impression on the lives of so many students at South is evident in Davenport’s reflection of Giebel’s role in her high school career.

“She’s such a genuine person, and she is more than a coach,” Davenport said. “I can tell she really cares about me, and because of that, I really care about her. She is a really great woman, and to this day, I still think she’s the best woman in this school.”

Lea Anne Hotton

By Nick Panagakis, staff writer

After 12 years at South, Math teacher Lea Anne Hotton believes it’s time to retire. This year Hotton teaches Geometry Honors and Precalculus Discrete and currently has no plans to work as a substitute teacher, thus marking the last time Hotton will be a teacher.

According to Hotton, Honors Geometry has been her favorite class to teach. She nostalgically reflected on the activity “Moving the Wall”, where students measure how far they have pushed a brick wall by incorporating geometric and trigonometric equations. Activities such as this remind Hotton of the joy she gets from teaching her students.

“I’ll miss the kids [the most] […] They have kept me young and entertained me for the last 12 years,” Hotton said.

Hotton emotionally added that she will miss the intelligence and professionalism of the faculty at South.

“[South] has a very high level of professionalism and very intelligent teachers,” Hotton said. “It’s great keeping up with the pack; it challenges you as a teacher to do a good job.”

According to Hotton, she hopes to have impacted both the students and teachers at South. She hopes to encourage the teachers to make a difference in students’ lives.

“I hope that in a positive way, I’ve been a role model [to the teachers] to be empathetic to the kids and be understanding with each other,” Hotton said.

As for the students, according to Hotton, she hopes to have reached out to make a difference to students. Receiving thank-you cards, emails and visits from graduated students has been the biggest indication of her success in achieving this goal.

“One young lady who graduated a few years ago came back to see me to tell me I made a huge difference in her life,” Hotton said. “It was the most moving thing that I think has ever happened. When [students] come back to tell you what you did affected their life, it’s big.”

Junior Sydney Dehorn had Hotton as a teacher this year for Precalc Discrete. According to Dehorn, Hotton has been available for help throughout the year.

“Mrs. Hotton is a very caring teacher and she’s always willing to help me […] and all her students,” Dehorn said. “I think that’s the best thing about her.”

According to Hotton, the lesson she hopes to teach students is simple: respect and understanding of each other.

“It’s so important that everyone treats everybody with respect, that you honor the difference in people, that you encourage each other and that you become supportive and positive,” Hotton said. “It’s important for both the students and the teachers to remember to have balance in their lives because whether you’re an adult or a child, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement of the school.”

Mary Jaeger

By: Lily Sands, staff writer

Mary Jaeger, Special Education teacher, has decided to retire after 34 years of teaching. However, she promises to never forget the experiences that made a huge impact on her life.

When the time came to decide majors in college, Jaeger chose Special Education. According to Jaeger, she was attracted to the personal connection she could have with students through this major.

“I liked the idea that I could work more one-to-one with a student or smaller group,” Jaeger said. “I felt like I would have a better chance to make a greater impact.”

One of Jaeger’s contributions to South is the Peer Mentoring program, a program in which students get the chance to work with Special Education students by assisting them in homework and other  activities, according to senior Connie Hoekstra, a peer mentor in the program.

According to Jaeger, she was asked to work with peer mentors to see how the program would work out. With this experiment, teachers were trying to figure out if a student with special needs works better with a peer rather than an adult.

“The results were amazing,” Jaeger said. “All the students were able to increase their grades and there was a bond formed between the special [education] student and the regular [education] student.”

Hoekstra began working with Jaegers her sophomore year, and, according to Hoekstra, her and Jaegers clicked her sophomore year due to their similar personalities and attitudes. They have been close ever since, according to Hoekstra.

“She has the same personality as me and she was a really [great] role model for me,” Hoekstra said. “She has been my mentor throughout high school, helping me further my passion in the Special Education department.”

After being at South for 30 years, Jaeger has been impacted greatly by the positive atmosphere that encompasses the school. According to Jaeger, she hopes that what she learned at South will stay with her.

“It’s been very impactful in my life,” Jaeger said. “South really hires quality people. I have had the great opportunity to work with teachers from each department in this school. People in this school really care about students and they have helped me to become a better teacher [and] to see things from a different perspective.”

Hoekstra can attest to the positive environment that Jaegers constantly brings to the room. Her positivity has impacted the lives of many students, according to Hoekstra.

“She’s an extremely kind and caring person and she never gives up on any of her students, which is great,” Hoekstra said. “There are some kids who are not doing so great in class and they have no motivation to bring their grades up, [and] she will push them and [make] great changes in everyone’s lives.”

Jaegers was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award and was granted the award in 2002. According to Jaegers, it was one of the most overwhelming and exciting days of her life. Her parents and some of the students who nominated her were in the audience, and Jaegers had no clue they would be there.

According to Hoekstra, Jaegers will be remembered for the impacts she has made on every single peer mentor and student whom she has worked with because her attitude inspires students to learn.

“The kids in this school are incredibly kind and helpful and open-minded to each other and to [their] teachers,” Jaegers said. “I will miss the kids.”

With her time off, Jaegers hopes to travel and visit her family members while continuing to incorporate Special Education into the rest of her life. The legacy Jaegers left will never be forgotten as she has impacted the lives of so many students, including Hoekstra.

“I feel like with my life I was just kind of floating around, but when I landed in Peer Mentoring, I finally found solid ground,” Hoekstra said. “She helped me keep my feet on the ground and [continue] moving forward. I never thought it was going to be anything in the future, but Mrs. Jaegers encouraged me to [work hard] to [become] someone like her, who works really hard and impacts so many lives.”

Susan Levine-Kelley

Leah Dunne, staff writer

Removing obstacles for both students and teachers in and outside of the classroom has been one of the many goals of  Instructional Supervisor (IS) Susan Levine-Kelley for the last 10 years at South. Levine-Kelley bids farewell to the English Department faculty and her work as a teacher and IS of the department.

Levine-Kelley manages the largest department in the school, made up of about 40 teachers. According to Levine-Kelley, her responsibilities as the IS range from meeting with students, parents and counselors to address the student’s needs, developing new curriculum for the department and managing teams of teachers. English teacher Mark Maranto explains how Levine-Kelley’s work ethic carries over into her job responsibilities.

“One of the things that I admire most about her is that she is a fierce advocate for both teachers and students,” Maranto said. “At the very heart of all the decisions she makes, she really wants the best for the students [and teachers] in the school. She will work, and she has, tirelessly to make sure that every teacher’s request and need is fulfilled, and that the student is getting the best possible experience they can have here at school.”

Levine-Kelley explained that another one of her goals throughout her time as being the IS has been to make each teacher feel comfortable, and to treat each one as a person with individual needs. English teacher Debbie Cohen explains how Levine-Kelley’s attribute of treating each teacher will be something that she, and the department as a whole will miss.

“I think that she is very caring about teachers as human beings,” Cohen said. “She really understands the human aspect of the teachers life is as important in job effectiveness as almost anything else. Teachers are people too, and she really does the best that she can to make sure that teachers have everything that they need.”

Levine-Kelley leads a variety of projects both within the English Department, and larger all school projects. According to Levine-Kelley, one of these projects has been her contributions to the development of the Titan Learning Center. Maranto believes one of Levine-Kelley’s greatest contributions to the department has been her ability to work with others.

“[Levine-Kelley] has this real talent for collaborating beautifully, but also then knowing when to be light and joke around and have a good time,” Maranto said. “She balances those two things really well.”

Throughout her career at South, Levine-Kelley has also impacted teacher relationships through the development of team system organization, according to Stephanie Bailey, sophomore English team leader. Bailey explained that Levine-Kelley’s leadership will be greatly missed from the English Department.

“[Levine-Kelley] is the type of leader that encourages other people to lead as well in their own circles,” Bailey said. “She makes decisions with input from a lot of different teachers, which allows [the teachers of the English Department] some control over what is happening for our present, and future at Glenbrook South.”

With the 2014-2015 school year coming to an end, Levine-Kelley closes her 10-year chapter at South and her teaching career, which began over 30 years ago. According to Levine-Kelley, she is grateful for her experiences at South and is happy with her time spent as an IS.

“I think what I’ll miss is having a place I know I can come to every day that I still love, and that I admire the people that work here so much,” Levine-Kelley said. “I’ve said almost from day one, I’m just really, really fortunate that [South] is my last school because I feel like this is the way school should be, the way that it is at Glenbrook South.”

Sylvia Lubinski

By: Hannah Rauh

Finishing her 18th year at South, Sylvia Lubinski, Special Education teacher, reflects on her career and looks forward to her life in retirement.

According to Lubinski, her interest in her career path started when she was a child and witnessed the frustration of students with learning disabilities. At the time, there was little assistance for students with these types of disabilities, and Lubinski is grateful that she has had the opportunity to help Special Education students through her career. Lubinski dedicates part of this gratitude to South.

“I love the welcoming attitude that people have [at South],” Lubinski said. “I just have to walk down the hall, and not only adults that [I] know, [but] students I don’t even know will look at me and smile. It’s just a great, great place.”

According to coworker and good friend, Julie Feeney, Lubinski has a special bond with her students, and makes sure they get where they need to go.

“She runs a tight ship,” Feeney said. “She has high expectations for [her students]. She knows they can do it, and she makes sure they live up to their potential.”

According to Lubinski, she finds inspiration in her students and their motivation to learn.

“I think that the kids that I work with are so loving and so kind and willing to do their very best,” Lubinski said. “They attend school regularly […] and I just love to see the progress that they make from the beginning of the year until the end.”

Lubinski has built her foundation of teaching upon the belief that all of her students are capable of success.

“I don’t care how much someone struggles, if they really put their all into it and want to do well, they’ll do well,” Lubinski said. “There’s enough help [at South] that anybody can get the help that they need.”

The first thing Feeney noticed about Lubinski was “how much she cared about the kids, how much she cared about her job and how much she cared about other people.” According to Feeney, she will deeply miss Lubinski, her teaching skills and her friendship.

Lubinski will start off her retirement by watching one of her sons participate in an Ironman Race in Idaho, and will watch another get married in Malibu. After these events, Lubinski plans on helping with her family’s furniture business in Wicker Park, and also plans on learning new skills, one being playing the violin. Among spending more time with her husband and grandkids, Lubinski hopes to come back to South occasionally as a substitute teacher.

Steve Grosland

By: Savera Zulfiqar

With a 15-year dedication to South, Physics and Chemistry teacher Steve Grosland decided to retire this year.

Besides teaching Physics and Chemistry, Grosland used to be an astronomy teacher and originally started the Astronomy program at South. He had also been a debate coach, a cross country and track coach and a sponsor of the particle physics research group. Grosland described his proudest moments at South as being related to track and Physics accomplishments.

“Two of the Physics students got published in a scientific journal [the Spectrum] as high school students,” Grosland said. “And a few pole vaulters became all state.”

According to Physics teacher Tom Henderson, Grosland is loved by many students. He is known by many nicknames such as Mr. G and Gros.

“There’s not a student in this school if you say ‘Gros’ don’t know who you’re talking about,” Henderson said.

Grosland is an integral part of South and will dearly missed, according to senior Emily Wyland,, especially in the Astronomy Department and in the track and field family.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Cosmic Ray Club or pole vault,” Wyland said.“Those are going to be some big gaps next year and they’ll be difficult to fill.”

According to Wyland, Grosland also has a great sense of humor that may not be seen at first glance because of Grosland’s reserved exterior.

“Gros seems kind of reserved and distant when you first meet him,” Wyland said. “He seems very quiet, kind of in his own world, and creepily never loses his temper. For the longest time I misinterpreted this as cold stoicism, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s really quite friendly, caring, perceptive, witty, and generally just a really fantastic friend.”

Grosland holds various nonchalant and joke filled friendships with many students like Wyland and senior Christina Piron, girl’s pole vault event leader.

“He’s very funny, goofy, energetic,” Piron said. “He loves making jokes, making people laugh.”

In coaching and sports, Grosland’s departure will be a major impact. Since Grosland has been coaching for so many years, it would be hard to imagine pole vaulting without him, according to Piron.

“I think it’ll be a big change because he’s like the heart and soul for pole vault,” Piron said. “He gets everyone going. He’s very energetic all the time.”

Wyland describes her first cross country race and how terrifying the race had been for her. She recalls how Grosland had helped her finish the race when she had wanted to give up.

“I remember thinking to myself ‘This is it, I’m done, I can’t finish this race’,” Wyland said. “And then I look up and there’s Gros, just standing there alone on the side of the course, looking me dead in the eye. I look at him in total panic like I’m about to pass out any second now and he just tells me in the most calm, level voice ‘You’ve only got 600 left. You’ve almost made it. You can do this.’”

In academics, Grosland is most known for his work in the Astronomy Department and for initially starting the program. According to Henderson, Grosland had been hired to teach Astronomy and has been working to hand it over to Physics teacher David Smith. Besides his work in Astronomy, Henderson describes the legacy Grosland will be leaving behind at South.

“His biggest legacy is going to be the imprint he’s left upon the numerous students who’ve known him through classes, and through the Particle Physics Group, track and cross country,” Henderson said. “Even in Debate.”

According to Physics teacher Neil Schmidgall, Grosland is also a very unique teacher with his given background as a lawyer.

“He always has a unique perspective on things that we don’t,” Schmidgall said. “He does some work in a lot of different colleges so he brings a wide variety of experiences in that respect as well.”

After retiring, Grosland plans to spoil his grandchild, read, continue work on his three-story Victorian home as well as travel and run various marathons. He possibly will continue to coach track and cross-country after retiring, and he also plans on doing something to help others.

“I want to find something meaningful to do, and I haven’t figured out what that is yet,” Grosland said. “Whether it’ll be volunteer work, starting a company to help people, I just haven’t worked that out.”

Quotes from Non-Featured Retiring Teachers

Cecile Frydman

“To my co-workers, I would say,”keep checking in with yourself to make sure you are taking care of yourself and what is most important to you’, Frydman said. “Without that, there won’t be ability to care for the students you serve.”

“What I will miss most about GBS are those moments when I felt I was truly able to connect and help someone […] be that a student, parent, or co-worker,” Frydman said. “I will be seeking out other places where I can do this in retirement.”
Joanne Medak

“I intend to continue my work as a clinical social worker in private practice,” Medak said. “My plan is to work, but less than full-time! I will continue to be an avid hiker, an adventurous traveler and a devotee to Chicago Theater. I expect to stay busy and productive, but with more flexibility in my schedule.”

“I will miss the students and families who touched my life during my career at GBS,” Medak said. “I will miss the many members of the Glenbrook staff that I have known and worked with over the lat 18 years.”

Patricia Siegert
“One of my favorite memories of Glenbrook South was being in the Faculty number of V-Show,” Siegert said. “I did it for five years, and it was always so much fun. It gave me the opportunity to get to know many of the teachers, with whom I still maintain a strong friendship.”
“After I retire, my husband and I are moving to Nashville, Tennessee,” Siegert said. “Our only daughter lives there, and she had a baby 14 months ago, so we purchased a home there and are ready to get on with our new lives.  I’ll be volunteering at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and at the Veterans Hospital in Nashville, along with taking care of my sweet grandson.”
Suzanne Nadel
“Years ago with Mrs. Fitch, who is the IS for World Languages, we started a latino leadership program […],” Nadel said. “A couple of times, I got to take those kids on a retreat to a camp for two days, and it was so much fun because we were together, and [the] kids were open. We played games and we talked and I think ,for them also, they got to see me in a different way because we are a camp. So I loved taking those Latino kids to camp.”
“I am really lucky to have worked in a school that’s safe, and where students are amazingly civil to each other […],” Nadel said. “The students that go to school here, for the most part, are incredibly respectful, and I think that’s a special thing. I think that doesn’t happen in other schools. So that’s pretty impressive.”
William Gleason
“One time, I had taken one of the kids [Mike], from the [Special Education class], and he worked with me for a period of days outside, writing tickets with me and stuff,” Gleason said. “And that was a highlight for me because the kid really loved it and enjoyed it and it was his senior year. […] And we actually got him an ID so he could come out. It said ‘Security for Deans Office’ and he used to just come in every day. In fact, […] at the end […] I met his parents and they said it was the highlight of his day just to work with me for 50 minutes a day. So it was just really rewarding.”
Barb Marzillo
“[I will miss] the people I work with, the kids that are here, just the atmosphere of the school too; it’s been a great, great place to work.”

“[What I would like people to know about my time here is] that I have been lucky enough to have a work at a place that I absolutely love and doing a job I absolutely love. And I think […] people don’t always have that.”

The Oracle was unable to get responses from the following retiring staff members:
Sue Collins
Chuck Haley
Dean Krock
Fred Rudolfi
Sean Savage


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