Pikeland Educators Recently Honored

By Benjamin Cox on May 14, 2023 at 9:36am

Heavner (left); Kilver (right)

Two members of the Pikeland School District recently received some top honors.

Pikeland Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol Kilver was named the 2023 Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Two Rivers Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. Kilver was one of 20 other regional superintendents honored on May 3rd at an awards luncheon in Springfield.

The Two Rivers region covers Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Morgan, Pike, Schuyler, and Scott counties. Superintendents of Distinction are selected by peers in their respective region. Kilver says it’s humbling to receive recognition after being at Pikeland for such a short time: “It’s something that you step back and think about all the people who are working devotedly to make sure that public school is moving forward and getting back on track from the last three years. It’s unbelievably humbling. It’s also acknowledgment, I think, an affirmation that so many people don’t maybe know every detail of the superintendent role. The thing is a lot of superintendents do their work behind the scenes as well as interacting with the public. To get the award from those people who are doing the job means more than anyone could ever really understand.”

Kilver credits the Pikeland Schools community for its resiliency and work ethic to power through the challenges and adversity of the Covid-19 pandemic to keep education on track for students over the past three years.

Kilver also credits the staff around her for their tireless work and dedication. One such member of the faculty is Pittsfield High School Agriculture Education teacher Jody Heavner. Heavner was announced as one of the five finalists from Illinois to be nominated to receive the Golden Owl Award. The honor recognizes the country’s leading ag educators. Heavner was presented a plaque and a $500 donation from Nationwide Insurance who sponsors the award, to help fund future educational endeavors in her classroom.

Kilver says Heavner’s passion really connects with students: “Jody is a very dynamic teacher. In the high school, we have about 350 students and almost 180 of those students belong to the FFA program, which is amazing. She is a kid magnet. She does really good things for students. Those things go beyond just the surface. They go to the extent that they are given lifelong skills that kids will have when they exit Pittsfield High School.”

Heavner’s expansion and award-winning prominence over the last two years has led to the school board adding a second Agriculture teacher. Kilver says that Heavner will act as a senior mentor to the new teacher once they are hired. Kilver says the FFA program is also growing with an expansion into the Jr. High level, allowing students to get involved in FFA at a younger age.

The announcement of the Golden Owl Agricultural Educator of the Year is expected to occur later this year.