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District 158 presents ABCDE award to Jose Gutierrez, new board member sworn in

LANSING, Ill. (May 21, 2024) – Lansing School District 158 held its May school board meeting on Wednesday, May 15. The board swore in a new member, presented the ABCDE award to Jose D. Gutierrez, and discussed the district’s strategic long-range plan.

It also recognized seventh-graders from Memorial Junior High School who participated in the strategic planning meeting.

Oath of Office to Robert Bonifazi

The Oath of Office was administered to newly appointed Board Member Robert Bonifazi who replaced retiring board member Abimael Durán.

Bonifazi has previously served on the board including terms as secretary and president from 2010 to 2019, said District 158 Superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling. After reciting the oath, board members gave Bonifazi a warm welcome back.

District 158 School Board President Mary Kelly said Bonifazi agreed to serve on the board for 11 months.


The District 158 School Board recognized Jose D. Gutierrez with the final ABCDE Award of the school year.

Jose D. Gutierrez was presented with the last ABCDE Award of the school year by District 158. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The award, short for “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Every Day,” is given to “celebrate the Lansing community, its outstanding citizens, and unsung heroes of our District,” according to the District 158 website.

Gutierrez is the owner of some local McDonald’s locations, including the Lansing McDonald’s on Torrence Avenue. He has partnered with District 158 to host two “McTeacher Nightfundraisers at the restaurant and the Lansing Journal’s fundraiser “McJournal Night” on February 29.

At the meeting, School Board President Mary Kelly read the following statement in celebration of Gutierrez:

“Jose Gutierrez, a distinguished McDonald’s franchisee since 2019, proudly operates five restaurants and champions the brand’s commitment to education and exceptional customer service. He has over 20 years of marketing experience, including leadership roles at Verizon Wireless and McDonald’s Corporation. Under his stewardship, his franchises have awarded over $800,000 in tuition assistance in the past four years. Over $36,000 has been donated back to schools and communities during the 2023-2024 school year with more than $6,000 donated in Lansing. Actively involved in community engagement, Mr. Gutierrez collaborates with local fire and police departments to host safety and community events like Frozen with a Firefighter and works closely with Lansing Police Department hosting events like Coffee with a Cop and supporting annual events like National Night Out. He plays a vital role in the McDonald’s Hispanic Operator Association and the McDonald’s Operators of Chicago and Northwest Indiana Board. His academic credentials include bachelor’s degrees in Spanish Literature and Marketing from San Francisco State University and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine. This year, McTeacher Nights at his Torrence Avenue McDonald’s location have raised over $2,200 for Oak Glen Elementary School and Memorial Junior High School. Lansing School District 158 is very appreciative of his support and honored to present him with the ABCDE Award!”

Strategic long-range plan

A committee of 39 people consisting of District 158 board members, district and building administrators, LEA teachers, LEFA staff, parents, seventh-graders, and community members met on April 24, May 1, and May 8 to create the district’s newest mission and vision portrait of a graduate three to five-year strategic plan.

The board honored six Memorial Junior High School seventh-graders for their participation on the District 158 strategic planning committee. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Dr. Schilling said the committee focused on creating goals within five focus areas: teaching and learning, finance & facilities, technology, community & communication, and staff and teacher development.

He also shared the district’s new mission, vision, and core values statements created by the committee.

The school board members on the committee expressed how amazed they were with the six Memorial Junior High School seventh-graders who were also a part of the group.

“The thing that really impressed me the most was the kids,” said President Kelly. “They did a really great job, they’re articulate and intelligent. They were the best.”

“The kids were smart, they were plugged in, they had lots of ideas and they kept us thinking forward in everything that we came up with,” said District 158 School Board Vice-President Denise Jones-Williams.

Other agenda items:

  • The board honored Victoria, a sixth-grader at Memorial Junior High School, for winning the Illinois Secretary of State writing competition “Letters About Literature.”
  • Dr. Nathan Schilling provided an update on future plans for the district’s first DEI Cultural Festival which took place on April 18.
  • The board discussed the effects the Ridge Road TIF Extension may have on taxpayers in the district.
  • The board approved the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 fiscal year transportation rates with Kickert School Bus Lines, Inc.
  • The board approved the purchase of a Kubota LX3530HSDC tractor from Alta Equipment Co. for $40,290.71.
  • The board approved the 2024-2025 Audit Contract with John Kasperek, Co. for $28,400.00.


Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.