Longtime metro-east school administrator Elmer Kirchoff has died.
The former president of Southwestern Illinois College (1998-2008), program director at the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education (1995-98), superintendent of Cahokia School District 187 (1988-1995) and assistant regional superintendent of St. Clair County (1977-1988) was 81 and died after a short illness.
“Speaking for my fellow trustees, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of our good colleague and friend, and we remain grateful for his decade of service as our president,” said SWIC Board Chair Nick J. Mance.
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Current SWIC President Georgia Costello said, “He will be sorely missed by the communities he served as a most-dedicated lifelong educator.”
Kirchoff presided a time of tremendous growth at what was known as Belleville Area College at the beginning of his tenure. He was especially proud of the growth of the school’s information technology programs. The School also changed its identity during Kirchoff’s tenure, rebranding itself Southwestern Illinois College.
Kirchoff graduated from East St. Louis Public High School and earned his bachelor’s and master’s in education from Saint Louis University; and his doctor of philosophy degree in educational administration from SLU as well.
He and his wife, Joan, were married 58 years before she passed away in 2014. They had two children: Sally Kendall and John Kirchoff; three grandchildren; and one great grandchild.
Kirchoff began his 50-year career in education as a music teacher at Marissa High School in 1958 and held numerous teaching positions before moving into administration at Grant School in Fairview Heights in 1969. He became superintendent of that district in 1974.
McKendree to hold ‘Science of NASCAR’ discussion
A scientist and author who is fascinated by all things related to speed will discuss “The Science of NASCAR” Feb. 4 at McKendree University’s Hettenhausen Center for the Arts.
Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, author of “The Physics of NASCAR: How to Make Steel + Gas + Rubber = Speed,” is a guest of the Distinguished Speaker Series. The free program is open to the public.
Prior to her talk, students from the University’s Psychology Club will be in the Hett lobby with hands-on demonstrations of auto racing reaction times, NASCAR flags, and the chance to take photos in auto racing helmets, offering something fun for all ages.
Leslie-Pelecky appears every other Friday on the Sirius XM NASCAR (Channel 90) “Speedway” satellite radio program to discuss current tech-related events. She has served as a guest contributor or writer for motorsports programming on ESPN, H2 and VOOM HD, as well as the National Science Foundation’s Science of Speed web series.
She is particularly interested in the culture of science and how the existing culture affects women and other underrepresented groups. Before she became a full-time writer, Leslie-Pelecky was a leading researcher in the field of nanomedicine, focusing on magnetic nanoparticles—small spheres with diameters a fraction of the width of a human hair. She also developed nanoparticles for medical diagnosis and treatment processes including drug delivery, magnetic resonance imaging and chemotherapy.
Leslie-Pelecky spent most of her academic career as a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, and other federal and state funding agencies.
The discussion starts at 7:30 p.m.
SIUE Head Start teacher honored
Chea Wyatt, child development supervisor at Bluffview Head Start Center, was chosen as the Illinois Head Start Teacher of the Year and the Region V Teacher of the Year for 2015.
“Chea takes so much initiative in her work,” said Marcia Oliver, who nominated Wyatt. “Whatever is required for her to get the job done, she does it.
“And she doesn’t do it for the praise,” added Oliver, coordinator of the Jackie Joyner Kersee Head Start Center. “I wish I had her back, but I know Ms. Applebee is going to keep her.”
Wyatt said she is glad to be at SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start and helping make a difference in children’s lives.
“I’ve always been passionate about working with children,” Wyatt said. “I want to be their advocate and form connections with them. I was surprised to learn about the Head Start Teacher of the Year award.”
Wyatt has worked with the SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start program for four years. She started out as a child development associate at the Tenth Street Head Start Center in East St. Louis. Later, in 2015, Oliver became Wyatt’s supervisor, and the Head Start center was moved to the Jackie Joyner Kersee location.
Wyatt is teaching a classroom of approximately 18 students, ages 3-5.
“My job is to be the best teacher I can be,” Wyatt said. “I provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn.
“I also build relationships with the parents,” Wyatt continued. “I provide parents with needed resources and invite them to volunteer and be a part of the learning environment.”
But working as a teacher today can be trying because of the challenges many children face in their homes and communities, she noted.
“Then for the teacher there are the challenges of not having enough time to get everything done,” Wyatt said. “You have to make sure you stay on task and provide everything that children need. I take work home, and I’m a multi-tasker.”
Region V consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The recognition makes Wyatt eligible to compete for the national 2016 Head Start Teacher of the Year.
Southern Illinois Builders Association awards 10 scholarships
The SIBA Education Committee met recently and selected the following candidates to receive an SIBA scholarship: Bradley Verdun from Edwardsville; Trevor Langhauser from Highland; Patrick Nelson from St. Louis; Seth Langendorf from Edwardsville; Alexandra Plocher from Highland; Andrew Westerhold from Edwardsville; Joseph Allscheid from Caseyville; Blake Branz from O’Fallon; Tyler Groom from Lebanon; and Levi James from Mount Carmel.
SIBA solicits candidates for the SIBA Scholarships in the fall and requests that information be submitted by mid-November in order for the SIBA Education Committee to meet and make their selections. To be eligible for an SIBA Scholarship. candidates must be pursuing a degree in the field of construction management, construction-related engineering or architectural. To obtain a complete list of requirements for the SIBA scholarships, call the SIBA office at 618-624-9055.