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Dist. 203 names new center after special education educator
By Melissa Jenco | Daily Herald Staff

Ann Reid


Courtesy of Kathleen Reid-Pizzo

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Published: 11/17/2009 12:01 AM

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Even as she battled cancer last year, Ann Reid was asking everyone she knew to support a referendum to help Naperville Unit District 203 build an early childhood center.

After nearly three decades working with special education students in the district, she knew the impact such a center could have on them.

The early childhood center now is under construction and, on Monday, the school board voted to name it after Reid to recognize her many years of service.

"She was a leader in her field and tireless in her commitment to early childhood," daughter Kathleen Reid-Pizzo said. "She would have been very honored."

The $11 million center on Naper Boulevard is the only District 203 school named after a woman.

The 48,000-square-foot building will open in fall 2010 and serve preschool-age children with special needs, as well as "typical" peers who pay tuition.

Reid joined District 203 in 1979 and wore numerous hats over the years, including speech-language pathologist and administrator; coordinator for Project Choice and Project Springboard; coordinator for elementary special education; coordinator for junior high special education; assistant principal at Steeple Run Elementary and Madison Junior High and assistant director of special education.

She retired in 1994 but continued working part-time, prompting her children to joke she retired as often as Michael Jordan.

Reid was still working when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007. She died in 2008 at age 72.

Two of Reid's four children, Kathleen and Kerry, described their mother as a good listener, empathetic, calming, persistent and a team player.

Kerry said her mother was always trying to make sure students with special needs felt like part of the community.

"She didn't see work as a burden; she saw it as a joy and, probably, a privilege to help kids who otherwise may not have had a chance to have someone be an advocate for them," she said.

Before coming to District 203, Reid also worked in Westmont Unit District 201. Over the years, she also served as president of the DuPage County Speech-Language-Hearing Association; was an adjunct professor at Lewis University, supervising special education teachers and was active with the Naperville Evening Kiwanis Club.

Reid was the top name for the early childhood center; a committee of students, parents, staff and community members sifted through 69 suggestions.

The group's other tops choices were to name it after Naperville or to honor veterans.

School board President Mike Jaensch, Vice President Jackie Romberg and board members Terry Fielden, Jim Dennison and Suzyn Price voted in favor of naming the center after Reid.

"I like that Mrs. Reid gave so much to this district and there is a certain ... personalization to that I think is admirable and I think that is part of our district's brand," Dennison said.

Susan Crotty voted "no" because she wanted longtime educator Gene Drendel included in the name as well. Dave Weeks abstained.