The Illinois Valley Central School District 321 has accepted the resignation of its leader.
School board president Mike Denzer read Superintendent Dr. Nick Polyak’s resignation letter aloud to the board at the Nov. 13 meeting.
In the letter, Polyak said his decision came with much mixed emotion and he was sad to leave behind so many wonderful people, especially when there is always work to be done.
Polyak’s last day with IVC is June 30.
He accepted a superintendent position at Leyden Community High School District 212 near Chicago.
“You took a chance on me four years ago and invited my family into your community. You are my bosses, but I also fondly think of you as my friends,” Polyak said in the letter.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished together over the past few years. I truly think we are in a better place today than we were four years ago and it is because of the collaborative relationships you foster and the trust you have in your administrators,” Polyak added.
Polyak went on to say that the letter was largely anti-climactic since they would all still be working together for the next eight months, but his full attention and efforts were still firmly placed on the students of the IVC community.
“There will always be a part of me that is a Grey Ghost. I say that with the pride and appreciation of how a school district and a community can operate together,” Polyak said in the letter.
Denzer said after much regret and disappointment, he approved the resignation.
“Do we have to second that? I regretfully second,” board member Sarah Williamson said.
Board member Steve Garrison said he echoed that sentiment and wished Polyak the best of luck.
“The next district is very fortunate,” Denzer added.
In other action and discussion, the board:
• Approved a $1,654 grant for the library.
Polyak said the grant will allow for new programs in the database for kids and new titles and publications to refresh the district’s library catalogue.
Garrison said he is the school board liaison for the IVC Foundation Board and this year they are concentrating on fundraisers for the library and ways to improve the experience of students.
“I am impressed with the commitment and dedication of the foundation board. I think we are going to get some good things done,” Garrison said.
• Heard about the recent awarding of more than $5,000 in mini-grants for district teachers through the IVC Educational Foundation.
Curriculum director Jennie Hawkey said the grants — which were handed out at a recent institutional breakfast — have a concentration on literacy this year.
Hawkey said the grants include small computers for sixth-grade students at Mossville, a partnership with a local nursing home, and one lesson involving Spanish soap operas.
“These grants really are a wonderful thing,” Polyak said.
• Recognized the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams from Mossville Junior High.
The boys’ team recently nabbed third place in the class 1A sectional and qualified for state, where two runners received medals and placed 7th and 17th.
Coach Michele Stewart — who was in attendance at the board meeting along with the entire boys’ and girls’ teams and many parents — said the third- place finish was the first trophy the team has ever received and with every meet they had, someone was breaking their own personal record.
“I was always making progress certificates for them. I also didn’t get any eligibility notices this season either, so they kept up their grades too,” Stewart said.
Denzer said the camaraderie on the team is a result of the passion and enthusiasm from Coach Stewart.
“This is a lifelong sport. Congrats on your achievement,” Garrison added.
• Approved a family leave request for Ericka Shay, English instructor at IVC High School.