Principal Peggie Maniscalco Retires
Looking back on her years in District 71, Principal Peggie Maniscalco said, “Culver School is really like a big family. We care about each other. The staff, students and parents help and watch out for each other. It is important for everyone to succeed and to feel safe and happy while doing so. I don’t know any other job where you can see the impact people have on each other in such a positive way. I think the one word I would use to describe the Culver community is passion. The teachers are passionate about their profession and student growth. The parents are passionate about their children’s safety and success. The students are passionate during both good and bad times.”
Mrs. Maniscalco’s retirement as Culver School principal is official as of June 30, 2018. She announced her decision at the school board meeting on Nov. 14, 2017.
In a letter to Culver students, parents and staff at that time, Mrs. Maniscalco said, “I have been so lucky to be a part of a school community that embraces its rich diversity and individuality while instilling respect for differences. The staff and parents truly want what is best for the students, and support the education of the whole child. I have been blessed to be able to be involved in the lives and education of so many terrific children and I will miss them as if they were my own.”
“We wish Mrs. Maniscalco much happiness in her retirement and thank her for her 18 years of dedicated service — both as principal and teacher — to the students of the Niles community,” said District 71 Supt. John Kosirog. Mrs. Maniscalco’s father was a teacher, and she always wanted to be one herself. “He motivated me to want to be able to help kids as well,” she said. She received a bachelor’s degree in education and holds master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction and in public health. She began her career teaching science at middle schools in Maywood and Lake Forest. She went on to work in the business world, where she used her public-health background to develop Baxter Healthcare and Amoco.
She returned to education in 1999 and joined the Culver staff as a fulltime teacher a year later. Upon her return, “I was more organized, I was better at following up with parents and I was just older and more patient,” she recalled.
She worked first as a 4th grade classroom teacher and then as a science teacher for 7th and 8th graders. She also served as the faculty sponsor for the Culver student council.
She stepped into the principal’s role on an interim basis in January 2011 and was then selected for the permanent position from a field of 65 applicants in April of that year. She started formally as principal in July 2011.
“Many people have asked me to compare my time as a classroom teacher to that of being a principal,” Mrs. Maniscalco said. “My response is: once an educator always an educator. As a teacher I was able to focus my teaching on specific age groups and subjects, and I was restricted to the number of students I was able to meet with on any given day. As a principal I have had the ability to share teachable moments not only with students of all grade levels but staff and hopefully some parents as well. There truly is no greater satisfaction than seeing someone express understanding that has just been achieved. As a teacher and a principal across 18 years at Culver I have had the time of my life and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
She added, “Please know that my leaving is terribly bittersweet. Bitter in that I have to leave the staff and students of Culver School, whom I hold near and dear to my heart. Sweet because as I reflect in preparation for moving forward, my goal in life is to help make a difference while doing something I love. My plans for the next chapter of my life are to have more time to spend with my family and to take the opportunity to do some volunteer work and give back to organizations that do make a difference. I want to give back for all the gifts I have been lucky enough to receive in my life.”