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District 158 celebrates award winners Korey Ziemkowski and Michael Earnshaw

BY QUINTON R. ARTHUR

LANSING, Ill. (February 3, 2023) — District 158 recognized the second-ever ABCDE award winner, Korey Ziemkowski, and the 2023 South Cook County Elementary Principal of the Year, Michael Earnshaw.

Korey Ziemkowski

Korey Ziemkowski is the recipient of the ABCDE award, an acronym for Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Every day. She is a graduate of Memorial Junior High School, one of several schools that comprises District 158.

Established in 2022, the award is open to District 158 community members, parents, students, or employees. The award criteria are based on the district’s values of compassion, inspiration, respect, achievement, and communication, and the District’s first award went to Donna Gill last fall.

Ziemkowski was recognized for her work in establishing the Girl In Lansing eight micro food pantries. The pantries are located across Lansing and surrounding areas and provide basic food items to those in need. The mission of Girl in Lansing is to help connect people with one another, whether that means helping a family get back on their feet or creating a safe space to volunteer in the community.

Upon finishing her seventh pantry, located at the Lansing Library, in September, Ziemkowski told The Lansing Journal, “The impact that I have, I don’t know how much it is. I don’t see the impact on a daily basis, I don’t see the people coming to the pantries. And I don’t need to know.”

Korey Ziemkowski, pictured at the micro pantry at the Lansing Public Library. (Photo: Josh Bootsma, 2022)

Ziemkowski attends South Suburban College, studying Business administration and plans to attend Elmhurst University for a nonprofit program. She has been recognized for her service work locally and nationally by the Girl Scouts.

Locations of the micro pantries in Lansing are:

  • First United Methodist Church, located at 18420 Burnham Avenue
  • Bethel Christian Reformed Church, located at 3500 Glenwood Lansing Road
  • Cornerstone Church, located at 3440 178th Street
  • Lansing Public Library, located at 2750 Indiana Avenue
  • Walk-in pantry located at Lighthouse Community Church, 17500 Lighthouse Lane.

Locations of the micro pantries outside of Lansing are:

  • Christ Our Savior Parish, located at 800 E. 154th Street in South Holland
  • InnerMission Neighborhood Farm, located at 5520 Claude Avenue in Hammond, IN
  • First United Methodist Church, located at 6635 Hohman Avenue in Hammond, IN.

Michael Earnshaw

Mike Earnshaw
Mike Earnshaw. (Photo provided)

Michael Earnshaw was recognized by the Illinois Principals Association as the 2023 South Cook County Elementary Principal of the Year.

The award recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeed in provided high quality learning opportunities for students. South Cook is one of 39 school regions in Illinois.

Earnshaw has served as the principal of Oak Glen Elementary School for the last nine years. In time as principal, his goal has been to focus on positive relationships with students, staff, and the community.

One way he supports relationship building is through “Grizzly Greetings”, an opportunity for students and staff to talk about different subjects, such as building character or leaving a legacy.

The relationship building has also helped students achieve academically.

The Illinois State Board of Education designates schools into four categories: exemplary, commendable, targeted, and comprehensive. Before the onset of the COVID pandemic, a subgroup of students fell below the state testing benchmark, listing them as “targeted.” During the pandemic, there wasn’t an opportunity to improve the status due to testing issues.

In the recent testing year, the school’s status changed to “commendable.”

Earnshaw recently release a book, The EduCulture Cookbook. The book highlights how he leads his school, and the activities and initiatives to build a collaborative team. He says the book is relevant to anyone in education who wants to transform their school and culture.

A graduate of TF South, Earnshaw recalls two teachers who inspired him on his path to be teacher, Coach K (Jim Kijewski) and his Spanish teacher, Mr. Sullivan. Both recognized him as individual and the strengths he had.

As a teacher, he received encouragement from his principal, Mike Smith, and assistant principal Ann Luering, to go into administration based on his leadership qualities.

“I’m very honored to serve at Oak Glen and in the community of Lansing. It is one of the places where we truly are stronger together,” said Earnshaw.

Principal Michael Earnshaw reads to a fourth-grade class at Oak Glen Middle School in 2019. (Photo: Kristine Espitia, parent)

In an email to The Lansing Journal, District 158 Superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling expressed his joy on both award recipients.

“District 158 is incredibly proud of both Ms. Ziemkowski and Mr. Earnshaw for their service to the Lansing community and larger South Cook region,” he said.

Find out more about District 158 at www.d158.net.

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Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.