Two honored for service to school boards

This year, the Pledge for Life Partnership applauds two outstanding individuals for their leadership abilities and service to the youth in their communities.

Richard Lottinville of St. Anne and Scott Watts of Watseka are the winners of the 2005 Lowe School Board Recognition Award. The award recognizes exceptional service provided by local school board members and was established in the memory of Dorothea Lowe, a longtime school board member and mother of former Illinois First Lady, Lura Lynn Ryan. They will receive the award on Thursday, October 27 at the Partnership’s annual Board of Directors’ luncheon meeting.

Rich Lottinville’s longevity on the St. Anne Grade School’s Board of Education speaks volumes about his solid commitment to the students of District No. 256. During the 20 years he’s been a board member, he has always based his decisions on what is best for the students and his keen ability to see both sides of an issue has earned him the respect of St. Anne residents, teachers and administrators.

Over the years, he has served the district in almost every capacity – as board president, vice president and secretary. Textbook adoptions, innovative technology purchases and building renovations have all been completed under his leadership. He was critical in supporting the new remedial program, the Homework Club, summer sessions and the highly regarded Reading Recovery program.

To make sure students of a small, rural district had the same opportunities as those living in larger ones, he supported instituting such extracurricular activities as a girls’ basketball team, student council and band program – all while remaining fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of St. Anne.

Rich also makes himself accessible to students and parents. “In my 13 years at St. Anne Grade School, I cannot recall a time when Rich wasn’t in attendance at our annual open house, fall concert or graduation ceremony,” wrote John Palan, superintendent for District 256.
“One of his most important abilities is to listen to various viewpoints before casting his vote,” he added. “Everyone understands that his concern for the students and their educational environment is what motivates his decisions… and that is what truly has earned him the respect of the various factions in our school community.”

Rich is a farmer and has been a lifelong resident of St. Anne and graduated from St. Anne High School in 1964. He is an active member of St. Anne Catholic Church and is an active member of the St. Anne Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus and Corn Grower’s Association.

Rich and his wife Pam, who is a teacher at St. Anne High School, have 3 grown children.

Throughout difficult economic times, Scott Watts’s steady and conscientious leadership has held the confidence of the community and kept the morale of the school staff of Iroquois County Community Unit School District No. 9 on an upbeat swing.

Now serving his second term as board of education president, he has remained a strong advocate for student programs and opportunities and has led the board to do more with less, said Ed Brown, vice president of the board. “The district had experienced a financial strain that led to deficit spending and a subsequent reduction in personnel … But under Scott’s leadership, our academic and extracurricular activities not only remained in tact, but we also were able to add new offerings in language arts and math and have initiated an advanced placement program at the high school.”

Scott’s ability to get successful results to his willingness to do his homework, Brown explained. “He is very hard working and spends a lot of time reading and researching policy. Whether it’s for a board meeting or going into contract negotiations, he is always well prepared.”

It is difficult when staff is eliminated, but Scott is always fair and considerate of others’ opinions, he continued. “Even in the face of adversity, he consistently does the right thing. He has a passion for our schools and has made this a better place for our students and our teachers.”

Scott began serving on the school board in 1996. He also is an active member of the Watseka United Methodist Church, the Watseka Booster’s Club and is a summer youth softball coach.

He grew up in Niles, Illinois and, though he has lived in many places, wanted to settle in a rural area. When his career as a commercial airline pilot for American Airlines based him in Chicago in 1992, he and his wife, Julie decided to make their home in Watseka. They have three children; Scott, Jr., a senior at Watseka High School; Drew, who is a freshmen; and Lauren, who is a 7th grader at Glenn Raymond Middle School.

Although he realizes that his children are experiencing a very different educational background from what he did as a youth, he does not believe they are being short changed and would not trade the rural setting for anything. “With limited resources, you have to be creative with every dollar,” he said. “I just wish I could send people to visit other districts so they could see just how much we have


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