One of the best parts about working in education is witnessing firsthand the learning that happens every day. We're excited to share with you a project that we've been working on here in the District. We hope you learn a little about a piece of District history and how you're honoring that past.
Let's start at the former post office building on Prospect Avenue that was sold to District 64 in 1970. The administrative offices were eventually named the Raymond E. Hendee Education Service Center. Dr. Raymond Hendee was the superintendent at District 64 for 20 years. When we moved offices this past summer, the current Superintendent, Dr. Eric Olson, wanted to find a way to honor Dr. Hendee and his family for so many years of service to the community.
"It's been a great pleasure getting to know the Hendee family and finding out the history of District 64, especially around Dr. Hendee's leadership," said Dr. Olson. "I think talking with the family is like going back in time and being able to picture what things were like, once upon a time."
"And really, it's that connection to history that made this idea to begin with. When we moved from the ESC building to our new location, we really wanted to keep the Hendee name as a part of what we do," added Dr. Olson.
That brings us to Thursday, May 18th. In recognition of Dr. Raymond Hendee, Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 dedicates a portion of the Jefferson Early Childhood Center as the Raymond Hendee Professional Development Wing.
On a wall in the wing, you can find some beautifully preserved pictures from when Dr. Hendee first started in the District and when he was about to retire. We were able to work in some images of Dr. Hendee and his family, as well as his words.
To the right of the large sign that used to hang at ESC in Uptown, Park Ridge, there's a text that reads, "Known for his unwavering pride in the quality of schools in the community, Dr. Hendee diligently continued the quest for excellence and helped provide outstanding learning opportunities for our children." Those words were partially taken from one of Dr. Hendee's final Superintendent Newsletters sent in the Spring of 1990.
Anyone that comes into this wing or walks by this wall, Dr. Olson hopes that they take this away from the namesake of the Hendee Professional Development Wing.
"I think two things first come to mind," explained Dr. Olson. "One is how long he served the District. You know, 20 years as a superintendent isn't something that happens anymore, so I think it's really impressive for his leadership to have lasted that long."
"The second thing is his dedication. His family has often talked about the number of hours he spent at the office, and whether it was nights or weekends, he really wanted to make sure that the children of District 64 had the best education they could," said Dr. Olson.
The Hendee Professional Development Wing is in the Jefferson Early Childhood Center. Not only do we have our Board of Education meetings in this space, but we also have professional development learning opportunities, training, in-services, and countless other meetings throughout the year. Even when you leave a room, you'll notice they're named after Dr. Hendee; Hendee 1, Hendee 2, Hendee 3.
"I think it's funny now that we might say the Hendee name more than was spoken when he was here just because of the rooms and how we retain the memory," said Dr. Olson with a smile. "Meeting the family and understanding Dr. Hendee's leadership will be one of my favorite memories of District 64."