When telling the story of her life, it would be impossible to disentangle Jane Fiala from Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95. Not only did she teach in the district for 23 years, she is also a graduate of the district. So are her husband, parents and children, one of whom now also teaches in the district.

So for someone whose history is so full of District 95, it is perhaps only fitting that Fiala is now helping to push the district into the future. Over the past few months, she has donated two gifts of $10,000 each to the technology programs at Brook Park and S.E. Gross schools.

“I’m always happy to help in educating students,” she said. “I’d encourage others to do the same.”

Fiala, a former Brookfield resident, said she had not planned to spend her teaching career at her old elementary school. She started teaching at a school in Western Springs, but took time off when she and her husband started a family. As her children started attending District 95, Fiala began volunteering at the schools, and when she was ready to return to teaching, she said, “there just happened to be an opening” at S.E. Gross.

At the time, the now-middle school held grades K through eight, and Fiala taught second and third grades there for five years. She then transferred to Brook Park, where she continued for another 18 years until retiring in 2000. Her connections to the district persist, however. In addition to having a daughter, Debby Cornacchia, who teaches seventh-grade science at S.E. Gross, Fiala occasionally returns to the classroom herself as a substitute teacher.

Fiala, who now lives in Downers Grove, said she has stayed involved with the district for so long because she has always enjoyed her hometown community.

“I grew up there and I loved it,” she said. “I got a wonderful start there, and Brookfield will always hold a soft spot in my heart.”

Superintendent Thomas Hurlburt said Fiala’s donations would be used to purchase computer hardware at both schools. He said he was thankful for the donations, noting that it was rare for the district to receive such gifts from their alumni.

“It was very generous,” he said. “Oftentimes people will make donations to their colleges, but her passion is for the younger school levels. Development at these early grades is so important, she wanted to support that.”