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Dr. Sherry Dunn

We Remember WHEN Dr. Dunn taught at Rand and South, lead the Science Olympiad team and was almost attacked by a squirrel, and she remembers a lot more…

Can you start by telling us the details of your career in District 25?

Dr. Sherry Dunn began her career in District 25 in 1971 at Rand Jr. High and she taught sixth and seventh grade science; she served as a team leader and assistant principal. Dr. Dunn stayed there until it closed in 1983. She then ventured over to South Junior High.

“Remember, this was all before D25 made it’s transition from junior highs to middle schools,” Dunn said.

Dunn taught sixth and seventh grade science and was the department chair at South. While at South, she also started the Science Olympiad Team and the Science Fair. The Loredo Taft trip began while Dr. Dunn was at South as well, as it previously had just been for Thomas students.

In 1990, she moved to central office as a middle school coordinator. Dunn was an administrator when D25 switched from a junior high model to a middle school model. Dunn served as the Interim Curriculum Director in the central office until 1992 when she became the Principal at South Middle School, filling the shoes of the former Principal who became the Superintendent.

“Everyday was wonderful throughout my entire career in District 25,” Dunn said.

Dunn retired in 2004.

What is your fondest memory of working in D25?

Sherry Dunn had two memories she was fondest of while working in District 25: 

1)    The role I played in helping to design the new building at South is an amazing memory. I worked with the architect and subcontractors to make the new building work as a middle school, giving it the little pieces to make it ours. The little things were important to me, like suggesting to put the compass rose on the floor right when you walk in.

2)    Another fond memory centers on the seventh and eighth grade State Science Fair. One of our young eighth grade students was given a special award for the best project in the state working with corn and the food crops in our state. She was a wonderful young student to work with, and in fact, many years later her mother called me and said her daughter is working in post doctoral research on breast cancer and credits the science fair opportunities and working with me with developing her passion for research.

As an educator, it is so special to hear from past students and today’s social media is so neat. I get to hear from many of my former students because of Facebook.

Finish this sentence: “I remember when…”

Well, Adam, reading John Figlewicz’s Remember WHENsday triggered another squirrel memory of mine.

I remember when…I was with my Science Olympiad team in a national competition in Boulder, CO. One of my students, whose reputation was a jokester, told me a squirrel was in one of the trash cans while we were touring the campus. I thought he was kidding, so it made me jump, practically out of my shoes, when I walked over to investigate and a squirrel leapt out of the can, right at me. It went right past my face. The students laughed, and laughed.

What have you been up to since retiring?

Dr. Dunn retired, and then saw…EVERYTHING.

I have been pretty busy since retiring. I went along with my husband who had a wish to see every single MLB ballpark and see a game. Well, we did it! My favorite ballpark experience was actually Cleveland’s. I got to see the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame, which I truly enjoyed. We then bought tickets for the ballgame from a couple of no shows, and they turned out to be VIP tickets. We sat in this high-class restaurant that overlooked the field of play. We were able to eat all the food we wanted! I ate grilled salmon with a dill sauce.

We have seen stadiums develop in St. Louis and Pittsburgh. I saw both in St. Louis and all three in Pittsburgh. 

I am an avid science person, as you might have guessed, so we also made it a point to visit 33 national parks. Both the geology and floral aspect of these parks and nature is exciting to me. My favorite is Crater Lake in Oregon. That is a caldera lake and has an ancient volcano which is filled with snow and ice. It is the bluest thing you’ve ever seen in your life.

We’ve been to Maui during whale season as there’s nothing I like better than watching humpback whales. We are actually headed there this Friday. 

I have traveled with my friends to France and Spain, as well, since retiring.

I worked, as well, after retiring. I worked part time as a middle school consultant and as an educational leader for grad classes; I also supervised student teachers at U of I.

Told ya she saw EVERYTHING.

What did you enjoy most about working in D25?

Dr. Dunn had so many things she most enjoyed about working in District 25, but was able to limit it to two.

1)    I loved teaching middle school students. They are the funniest people alive. I know as teachers, we aren’t supposed to laugh too much with them, but it’s hard not to. Middle school students made me laugh everyday I taught them.

2)    I also made the best lifelong friends anyone could every ask for working in District 25. I moved here from Peoria and didn’t know anyone. All of my friends I still have are from District 25. That’s whom I traveled with to France and Spain. When I was principal I liked to hire people who I knew would be open and happy with the other teachers in the district.

How’s the fam…?

The family is awesome! I have a daughter who was married in 2009. I now have two grandchildren, Connor (4) and Avery (2). We get to see them every week because they live close. I love to babysit them. They are a bottle of energy.

Any message to the Arlington Heights community?

The main thing that I learned throughout my career is that people through all ages, especially children, learn best when they are having fun. No matter what you do, try to make it fun. Laugh every day and try to find the humor in your experiences. Cherish your family and friends and all of your good times. Be happy.

Adam Harris
aharris@sd25.org