Glencoe, Community

News Briefs: Park district rededicates ice center; Sears School honored by Special Olympics; D112 elevates principal to district office

The Glencoe Park District welcomed residents, officials and partners to a dedication ceremony for the newly renamed Weinberg Family Recreation Center on Dec. 9.

The change honors former Commissioner Jack Weinberg and his wife, Sheila Weinberg, who received naming rights in concert with their $600,000 donation. According to the agreement approved in October, the gift from the Jack A. and Sheila A. Weinberg Family Foundation will be delivered in equal payments of $120,000 in November of each of the next five years.

“As we stand on the cusp of a new era for the Weinberg Family Recreation Center, let us reflect on the journey that brought us here and anticipate the boundless possibilities that lie ahead,” Park Board President Carol Spain said at the event. “This center is not merely a structure; it is a testament to the power of community, recreation, and progress.

“Thanks to each and every one of you who played a part in making this dream a reality. Here’s to a future filled with joy, inclusivity, and community spirit at the Weinberg Family Recreation Center.”

“This celebration is not solely about the bricks and mortar but also a recognition of the collective efforts that have transformed a building initially erected in 1959 as a field house named in honor of Park District advocate Amos Watts,” Park Board President Carol Spain said at the event. “Through the years, the Watts building has undergone significant changes, including the addition of ice rinks in 1972 and a major renovation in 2001.

Watts Recreation Center was built in 1959 as the Glencoe Park District’s lone recreation space. In 1972, a refrigerated outdoor ice rink was installed and became the center’s primary attraction.

The center now has two outdoor rinks that are are supported by indoor services, such as skate rental and storage.

The renovation project, which broke ground in April, includes upgrades to the indoor ice-support facility, the addition of a multipurpose room, new restrooms and storage areas, and a reworking of “inaccessible” space to support more programming. Improvements also include an elevator to meet ADA standards.

Joseph Sears School’s (left to right) Assistant Principal Martin Heffner, parent association President Lydia Mathas, parent association Vice President Joe Guarino, Athletic Director Joe Rodriguez and Communications Coordinator Chris Mannara.

Sears School honored for Polar Plunge success

The Joseph Sears School was awarded the 2023 Special Olympics Illinois Hero Award on Nov. 29 for its dedication to hosting the Polar Plunge for the last two years.

This award is given to a person, family, group, or business that has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to Special Olympics Illinois. It serves as a way to recognize efforts that strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for Special Olympics athletes.

Michael Rodrigo, D112’s new director of personnel services

North Shore 112 promotes Wayne Thomas principal

North Shore School District 112 has moved Principal Michael Rodrigo over to the district offices.

The School Board has approved Rodrigo’s appointment as the district’s director of personnel services after his six years as the head of Wayne Thomas Elementary School.

A search for a new principal at Wayne Thomas is underway, a news release from the district says.

According to the release, starting on July 1, 2024, “Rodrigo will oversee the personnel services department responsible for recruitment and other critical staffing matters.”

“Michael has exemplified outstanding leadership, resilience, creativity, and a consistent vision,” Superintendent Dr. Mike Lubelfeld said in the release. “His successful tenure as principal at Wayne Thomas School marks the beginning of his impactful leadership journey within our district. He embodies the essence of a servant leader, driven by a purpose far more significant than himself.”

Before serving at Wayne Thomas, Rodrigo was the assistant principal at Walden Elementary School in Deerfield. He began his education career in various roles with Teach for America, placed at Rowe Elementary School, a Chicago charter school. According to the release, he is pursuing his doctoral degree at National Louis University, where he hopes to earn a superintendent license.

“I am deeply grateful for my time at Wayne Thomas, where I have worked alongside an extraordinary team and community,” Rodrigo said in a statement. “The experiences and relationships I’ve built there have been invaluable and will continue to inspire me in this new chapter. I am committed to bringing the same passion and dedication to my new role, focusing on positively impacting our district and fostering an environment where every student can thrive.”


This article was developed using publicly available information, such as press releases, municipal records and social media posts.

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