Summary: Mary Sue Montavon, principal of the north and south campuses of Adventist GlenOaks Therapeutic Day School, received a pillar award for her commitment to the organization’s mission.
Glendale Heights –Mary Sue Montavon is dedicated to improving the lives of children facing severe emotional challenges. She joined Adventist GlenOaks Hospital
in Glendale Heights in 1989 as a teacher on the behavioral health unit.
A skilled special education teacher, she soon gained a reputation as an effective administrator, assisting with state board approvals and accreditations, and attracting a highly-qualified staff. Partnering successfully with public school administrators as well as families, she became known for her compassion, wit and sense of humor.
As Adventist GlenOaks Hospital’s behavioral health unit became well known for meeting the academic needs of its children, a special education administrator approached Lisa Grigsby, now director of Adventist GlenOaks Therapeutic Day School, about opening such a school in the area. Montavon was asked to join as a teacher.
Under their leadership, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital opened the therapeutic day school in February 1995 with two students. Today, a combined 220 students are enrolled at the north campus in Glendale Heights, the south campus in Glen Ellyn, the west campus in North Aurora and the post-secondary Transition program. Montavon serves as principal of the north and south campuses.
For her dedication to Adventist Midwest Health’s mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ, Montavon was one of five Adventist Midwest Health leaders to receive the organization’s pillar award at the quarterly leadership development institute in January.
“Mary Sue has worked tirelessly to create an educational environment that meets both the academic and emotional needs of each and every student who attends GlenOaks,” said Brinsley Lewis, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital’s chief executive officer. “The students know she believes in them, cares about them and wants them to succeed.”
“I’m very honored to receive this award,” Montavon said. “It has been extremely rewarding to work with children, families and their school districts to make positive changes in their lives.”
Adventist GlenOaks Therapeutic Day School is a fully accredited, completely self-contained school that aids students with severe learning, social or emotional disorders. It serves children in third grade through high school from public school districts in Cook County and the six collar counties; the children remain enrolled in their home districts while attending the therapeutic day school and earn normal academic credits while attending individual and group therapy sessions.
Montavon credits her staff for the school’s success.
“Our staff work tirelessly to create an environment that meets our students’ unique needs,” she said. “When I am interviewing job candidates, I look at their credentials, and then at their personality and passion. You can always train someone, but you can’t change a personality or increase their drive.”
When Montavon experienced a serious illness in 2009, she didn’t pull back permanently from her professional commitments. Instead, she changed her lifestyle and lost more than 100 pounds. Now she has added the physical well-being of herself and her students to her list of priorities.
“I exercise 60 to 90 minutes everyday and I make healthy food choices,” Montavon said.
She became a charter member of her local Pioneering Healthier Communities, an initiative of the YMCA, and she is available to make testimonials on the benefits of healthy living. She also makes sure that her school offers options that enable her students to make healthy choices.
Prior to coming to Adventist GlenOaks Hospital behavioral health unit, Montavon taught at a public high school in Normal, Ill. She comes from a farming family and grew up near Amboy, Ill. She holds a degree in special education and a master’s in school administration from Northern Illinois University.
Montavon says she enjoys support from hospital management in achieving her professional goals.
“Our administrators are very supportive – that’s why I have been here almost 22 years,” she said. “Working here has been professionally and emotionally rewarding.”
Pillar award nominations are solicited from Adventist Midwest Health’s senior leadership team. To be eligible, nominees must demonstrate commitment to the organization’s “S.H.A.R.E” standards of behavior: Sense, Help, Acknowledge, Respect and Explain. They must also demonstrate measurable results on the quarterly goals set for their departments. These goals are organized under the seven categories, or pillars, of spiritual life, people, clinical, service, community, growth and stewardship.
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, Lisa.firstname.lastname@example.org; 630-312-7508