Vicki Vizek

Three teachers in Riverside Elementary School District 96 are retiring this year. Vicki Vizek, Central School third-grade instructor is retiring after teaching for 30 years in D96, the last 29 at Central. Ames third-grade teacher Paula Stephens is retiring after 20 years and Halina Pliwko after 12 years at D96 as an English as a Second Language instructor, now called English Language Learners.

“Vicki is a 30-year veteran of District 96,” said Central School Principal Pete Gatz in an email. “She taught third grade at Central for 29 years and experience like that is extremely difficult to replace. Her commitment to her students and colleagues is unwavering and exemplary. Vicki will be missed immensely at Central School and we wish her the very best.”

D96 school board member Shari Klyber’s daughter was in Vizek’s class two years ago. Klyber, a former teacher herself, said, “Mrs. Vizek is a loving and inspiring teacher. Her calm and caring manner had a positive impact on my daughter and many other children over her years of service.”

In her time in D96 Pliwko has taught at all five district schools. Before coming to the district, the Polish born Pliwko taught in Schaumburg.

“Halina’s vivacious sense of humor and infectious laughter will be missed,” Gatz said. “Halina always demonstrates commitment to her students and their continued growth in learning the English language.” She will be hard to replace, he added.

Stephens has taught at Ames for 20 years.

“Paula Stephens is one of the most child-centered teachers I have ever worked with in my career as both an educator and administrator,” said Ames Principal Todd Gierman in an email. “She not only meets the academic needs of her students but also their social/emotional needs through her educating of the ‘whole’ child. She is pretty much a second mom to her students and treats our children at Ames as if they are her own. Paula Stephens is one of a kind and will be missed dearly at Ames by both the staff and parents.”

Stephens’ daughter, Hannah, is a first-grade teacher at Central School.