IASPA Award Winners

2024 Winners

HR Specialist/Support Staff Awards

Crissy Cooper
Grayslake CHSD 127

Crissy is a new member of the PAN committee and has volunteered to be on the leadership team to move initiatives such as PD and connection forward for our professional associates in IASPA. She is well known in the HR world as being a dynamo in her work. Her nominator noted that Grayslake won the lottery a little over a year ago when she joined their team - her content knowledge and expertise are an asset to Grayslake 127. She jumped in with both feet to ensure the HR office is one that is employee centered, efficient and effective at meeting the needs of each and every employee. Crissy is a systems thinker and can break down large tasks into consumable bites. She has rethought D127’s onboarding and electronic personnel files to ensure they are streamlined, efficient, and effective in our work. Every new mandate that comes down, she is prepared, has a plan, and implements it to a T. Crissy is smart, tenacious, and collaborative. She brings joy to the District office and to each building. Crissy has built incredibly meaningful and strong relationships with her peers as well as with staff and building and district admin.

Nina Youabb
Glenbrook HSD 225

Nina's work showcases remarkable and expansive creativity, evident in her establishment of processes that have not only benefited her school district but have also been adopted by others. She has successfully implemented and refined various procedures, including the intricate tracking of stipends, onboarding and offboarding processes, summer school hiring, summer camps coordination, home and hospital recruitment, and all aspects related to student activities. In addition to her accomplished initiatives, Nina is currently dedicated to developing an orientation program for Educational Support Personnel (ESP) to aid in the retention of Instructional Assistants and Security Personnel. Her expertise, professionalism, and innovative thinking have facilitated seamless collaboration between Human Resources and the Business Office in addressing projects and day-to-day operations. Nina actively participates in both IASPA and AASPA, demonstrating her commitment despite a significant fear of flying. Notably, she not only overcame this fear to attend the 2023 Annual AASPA conference in California but also made a valuable contribution by presenting "HR & BO: The Perfect Pair." This presentation, previously showcased at the Annual IASPA conference and Webinar Wednesdays for IASPA,reflects Nina's dedication to sharing insights within the field. Nina currently serves as a member of the Recognitions Committee and the By-Laws Committee in IASPA. Additionally, she remains an active participant in PAN, showcasing her ongoing commitment to various committees and professional networks. Recognizing the paramount importance of building relationships and fostering partnerships, Nina has earned the trust of her colleagues. Nina is deeply committed to her work, placing a high value on customer service. She ensures that staff members receive the utmost quality of service, expertise, and care.

Mentor Award

Dr. Phil Georgia
Lake Forest Schools

Phil demonstrates exceptional leadership and collegiality with confidence, patience, knowledge and experience.   He leads through a foundation rooted in ethics, honesty, and equity. Through his professional wisdom, Phil has served as an exemplary model for Human Resource professionals; demonstrating exceptional leadership and collegiality as my mentor. He actively fosters growth in those he mentors and ensures that his mentees are aware of all opportunities through IASPA, NEIASPA, and AASPA; attending meetings, maintaining communication through email, and connects to other Human Resource professionals within the organization. He is respected by his peers as an education professional with ethics, high moral standards, and very knowledgeable within his field.

New Member Award

Dr. James Robinette
Consolidated HSD 230

James has been an active IASPA and AASPA member for two years. As a new member of IASPA, he has earned his pHCLE certification, served on the Recognition and Annual Conference Planning Committees for two years, and has recently joined the DEI Committee. He actively attends IASPA events including the Annual Conference, multiple Webinar Wednesday events, and the HR Essentials Conference.He is also actively involved in his IASPA Regional Group, South Suburban Human Resource Administrators (SSHRA). He attends regional meetings and actively participates in the SSHRA electronic professional network to share information and resources with SSHRA members. In a very short period of time, Dr. Robinette has contributed several professional development activities to the field of school personnel administration. This includes presenting a session on Servant Leadership in Education at the 2023 State Conference, presenting a Webinar Wednesday session on Bargaining Topics, and several presentations at this year’s Annual Conference. James has also published an article in the AASPA Blog, an article in the 2023 AASPA Best Practices Magazine, and conducted a virtual AASPA presentation. James also currently serves on the AASPA Recognition Committee and served on the pHCLE Exam Writing Committee.

Personnel Administrator of the Year Award

Josh Chambers
Glenbard Twp HSD 87

Josh began his career as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools as part of the Teach for Chicago program and has taught at the elementary, middle school, and high school level where he also served as an athletic coach. He has held multiple administrative positions, including Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, Principal, and has served as the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at Glenbard Township High School District 87 since 2014. Josh has served as the Chair of the IASPA Communication Committee and the Chair, Co-Chair, and member of the AASPA Leon Bradley Scholarship Committee. He is currently a member of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee for AASPA. He has also volunteered as technical support for IASPA events for multiple years.He is also a contributing member of the Northwest Personnel Administrators group. Josh has represented the Glenbard School district as a presenter at the Joint Annual Conference, the National School Boards Association Annual Conference, the EdLeader21 Annual Conference, and IASPA's annual conferences. Josh's ability to develop strong relationships throughout his district was foundational as he built and strengthened the systems and processes in the human resources office. He is knowledgeable, fair, empathetic and understanding in all his interactions. Josh has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence in human resources management, fostering a positive and inclusive work environment for both educators and staff. His dedication to promoting a culture of collaboration, diversity, and professional growth has had a profound impact on his school community and our HR world. This has been evidenced through his formal and informal mentoring of leaders, leadership roles he has undertaken for AASPA and IASPA, and contributions to his district. One of Josh's outstanding strengths is his ability to navigate the complexities of HR management with grace and efficiency. In the ever-evolving landscape of education, Josh has exhibited a remarkable capacity for adaptability and innovation, implementing forward-thinking strategies to address the unique challenges faced by our school district. Furthermore, Josh has played a pivotal role in enhancing the recruitment and retention of top-tier talent within the Glenbard schools. His initiatives and efforts have not only attracted highly qualified professionals but have also contributed to the development of a cohesive and motivated team. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Josh consistently demonstrates empathy, integrity, and strong leadership skills. He is known for his approachability, actively listening to the concerns and needs of employees and working tirelessly to create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

Shelli Anderson Legacy Award for Excellence in School Law

Sara Boucek
Kriha Boucek

The first ever recipient of this award is Sara Boucek, partner at Kriha Boucek.

Sara is a forever friend to IASPA, often leading keynotes on legislative updates here at our annual conference with humor and insight.  Additionally, she is a frequent session presenter here at the annual conference. Prior to her work at Kriha Boucek, she was  the "go to" attorney for superintendents in the IASA, where she negotiated many superintendent contracts with local boards of education and was heavily involved in the IASB policy services team to draft recommended policies for school districts. She has also supported the Educational League of Illinois as a member and sponsor for many years.  Sara has supported the districts for whom she works with professional development, sound advice and supporting them to make the best decisions for students in legally complex situations. Sara supports her client districts with sound advice, empathy and compassion. Congratulations to Sara Boucek, the inaugural recipient of the Shelli Anderson Legacy Award for Excellence in School Law. As a friend and colleague of Shelli’s, we have asked Sara to say a few words about receiving this award.

Previous Years Winners

2023 Winners
Digital Branding Award Sara Burnett
Gina Steinbrecher
Distinguished Service Award Lori Thum
HR Specialist/Support Staff Awards Debby Marquardt
Kim Nordvall
Mentor Award  Sara Dail
New Member Award Jeff Knapp
Personnel Administrator of the Year Award Pete Theis
2022 Winners
Digital Branding Award Vicki Larson
Distinguished Service Award Ray Chung
HR Specialist/Support Staff Awards Rebecca Ziccardi
Mentor Award  Laurie Campbell
New Member Award Phil Georgia
Personnel Administrator of the Year Award Angelica Romano

2021 Winners
Digital Branding Award Stephanie Nordstrom
Distinguished Service Award Marci Conlin
HR Specialist/Support Staff Awards Barb Dombroski
Mentor Award  Pete Theis
New Member Award Brian Kaye
Personnel Administrator of the Year Award Monica Schroeder

2020 Winners
Digital Branding Award Greg Dietz
Distinguished Service Award Beth Dalton
HR Specialist/Support Staff Awards Kathleen Burns
Mentor Award  Monica Schroeder
New Member Award Danielle Carter
Personnel Administrator of the Year Award Dale Fisher

2019 Winners
Digital Branding Award Jake Chung
Adam Harris
HR Specialist/Support Staff Awards Jennifer Ng
New Member Award Tom Kim