CHANA — Lynn Kalnins, assistant principal at Chana Education Center (CEC), was recently awarded the Illinois Principal Association Northwest Region Leadership Award.
She graduated from Benedictine University with her LBS1 in 2005 and went on to get a masters in instructional strategies and curriculum in 2010 from Rockford University. She earned her master’s in educational leadership and administration in 2013 from the American College of Education.
Kalnins is in her seventh year serving as the assistant principal at CEC. Prior to her service as an administrator, she served as a teacher for Ogle County Educational Cooperative (OCEC) since 2007. CEC is one of the special education programs of OCEC which serves students with significant emotional and behavioral challenges. Students within the program are in need of highly-specialized instruction, positive supports and services in special education.
She is an asset and positive role model at CEC for students, staff and parents. She lives within the philosophy of putting students first and truly meeting them where they are at. Her compassion for students who have been significantly impacted by trauma is great and influences her leadership as a certified non-violent crisis prevention instructor.
One of her many strengths are in the community partnerships she created to benefit students. She has created a relationship with the Chana United Methodist Church that allows students to have access to a library.
The church community has also assisted in coat drives and reading opportunities for children. Another resourceful relationship is when Kalnins enlisted family and friends to support and teach students about agriculture and farming by creating a field trip to a local farm.
She actively supports her team to facilitate “Chana Cheer” opportunities, service learning, ranging from visiting a local nursing home or “paying it forward” activities by giving families in need baskets of food and supplies during the holidays.
Another impressive network and learning experience she created and led was by partnering with the Educate Local Program of Northern Illinois University College of Education.
Students studying special education participated in Project TENT (Teams Exploring Nonfiction Together), NIU’s most recent initiative in the college of education. The program provides teacher-licensure candidates with opportunities to gain experience and develop their perspective of education through volunteering, observing, and participating in various campus, community and educational settings.
She helped create a sensory room so students can “let off steam” in a healthy manner and lead the initiative to attend and learn about STEAM initiatives (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math). She and a small team attended professional development opportunities that are now being brought to life in the classroom by her staff.
Kalnins supports positive behavior intervention and supports at the school and keenly follows conscience discipline to further her own growth. Her partnership with the regional office of education has created opportunities for her to train staff in other districts on classroom management and conscience discipline initiatives.
Kalnins also helped establish The Maggie and Amos Foundation, which is a non-profit organization to memorialize the lives of Maggie and Amos Rosko through charitable donations and scholarships.
She was nominated Dec. 10, 2020 by Mrs. Henkel.