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Inside CPS

News and Stories from across the District

Highlighting Five CPS Retirees

31 May 2024

From guiding classrooms to shaping the day-to-day logistics of our District, our retirees' tireless efforts have been instrumental in fostering academic excellence. 

2024 CPS Retirees

As the school year comes to a close, we would like to highlight a few of the extraordinary leaders, teachers, and staff members who are retiring from CPS this year. Their unwavering dedication, passion, and commitment to nurturing the minds of our city’s youth have left a significant impact on generations of students. From guiding classrooms to shaping the day-to-day logistics of our District, their tireless efforts have been instrumental in fostering academic excellence, and they have demonstrated that the best are truly with CPS!

As they embark on this new chapter in their lives, we want to express our deepst gratitude for their years of service and wish them the best in their well-deserved retirement. Read their stories below! 

Docilla Pollard

Principal at Carnegie Elementary

Docilla Pollard has worked in the District for the past twenty-four years, serving in multiple roles in our schools and network offices before joining Carnegie as principal. She is described as passionate and committed to student success in her school community. 

When reflecting on her twelve years at Carnegie, Principal Pollard explains that she is most proud of her work building the school’s current all-digital curriculum and seeing her students succeed. While she will miss working alongside Assistant Principal Roberson and their leadership team, she also looks forward to retiring at the end of this school year and spending more time with family and loved ones. 

Principal Pollard’s biggest piece of advice to new school leaders and CPS educators is to trust themselves and the process. As she leaves her school community, she hopes they will “Continue to grow, continue to be successful, and always trust in Carnegie.”

Carmen Vazquez 

Special Education Teacher at Sawyer Elementary

Carmen Vazquez began working for the District thirty-two years ago as a school and teacher assistant, and then as a classroom teacher at two CPS high schools. Fast-forward to today, and she finds herself in her sixteenth and final year at Sawyer Elementary, where she’s worked as a third-grade bilingual teacher, Bilingual Program Coordinator (ELPT), and Special Education Teacher.

“Making the move from high school to elementary school was the best decision I made,” says Ms. Vazquez. “Sawyer is a wonderful place to work because it has the most amazing colleagues. I saw a need within the bilingual community, and I have been able to directly help that community here.”

Ms. Vazquez credits her long career to her school community, which kept her coming back to Sawyer year after year. Her biggest piece of advice to new educators is to never give up and always do your work with love and patience for your students. 

Lucyna Marczyk 

Attendance Coordinator at Schurz High School 

Lucyna Marczyk started working for Schurz High School’s attendance office thirty-one years ago, and she’s been there ever since. She is known to be a reliable figure in the school community, always willing to extend a helping hand and create a welcoming environment for students and staff. 

Throughout the years, she has learned many valuable lessons and taken on many responsibilities, including learning how to interact with students, parents, and staff members to give them the best experience possible when visiting the school’s office. Some of Ms. Marczyk’s most memorable moments at Schurz include receiving a promotion after her first twenty years there and building long-lasting friendships with her colleagues. 

While she will greatly miss her time at Schurz, Ms. Marczyk looks forward to traveling more after retirement and hopes her school community continues to help and support each other. 

Alexandra Arango

Clerk at Brentano Elementary 

Alexandra Arango has served as the school clerk at Brentano Elementary for the past twenty-six years. She explains that Brentano has always felt like family since she first started there. 

Ms. Arango’s favorite part of her job is seeing students grow, even after graduation. She has loved seeing former students return to the school, sometimes with their own children. 

“I’ve seen generations of families come through here. I’ve seen their growth and the influence previous students still have on our community,” she says. 

After retiring from clerking at the end of the school year, she plans to continue her career at the College of Dupage in Adult and Returning Student Education. Ms. Arango says that she will miss the students from Brentano the most and hopes to stay connected with her colleagues and the school community. 

Connie Brink

Teacher at Franklin Fine Arts Elementary

Connie Brink had always wanted to become a teacher as a little girl, a dream she realized in her thirty-seven years working at Franklin Elementary. Throughout her time there, Ms. Brink has become a pillar of her school community and is described as energetic and caring. 

Her favorite part of her job is being able to see the progress of her students throughout the school year. 

“The most rewarding part of teaching is when you get your new fresh class at the beginning of the year and you see where they need support,” she says. “And at the end of the year, to see their growth and to see what they have learned is just amazing.” 

Ms. Brink describes her time at Franklin as an energizing and exhilarating experience, which she says is thanks to the students and colleagues who made it worth coming back to school year after year. As she leaves her school community, she hopes they continue working hard to push Franklin to greater heights.

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