Interview with Dr. Pam Adelman
How and when did you first come to Hyde Park Day School?
Almost twenty years ago, September 1, 1999, I was hired by the Leslie Shankman School Corporation to be their founding Executive Director. My charge was to open the school no later than January 2000, which we did with five students. Our faculty consisted of one full-time teacher and a very dedicated Board member, Joanne Steinback, who was a special education teacher and volunteered her time. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Joanne, along with her husband Jim Steinback, President of the Foundation, and Brooke Whitted, who was President of the Board of Directors, for their help and support during my tenure at HPDS.
What is your relationship with the school now?
I am retired but love to help whenever I can, particularly in the areas of Research and Development. Finding out how our students are doing is so interesting and gratifying, and sometimes these conversations lead to making connections for them that may be helpful with educational, work-related, and/or personal plans.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the school over the years?
I think the biggest change is change in every aspect of the organization. At HPDS, there is a culture of evaluation, reflection, and respecting the ideas of members of our community. Under Dr. Casey Crnich’s leadership, all areas of the school have grown and improved, including the curriculum, facilities, professional development, and our enrollment. From five students, we’ve grown to serving over 130 students at three different locations in the Chicago Metropolitan area.
What is the biggest impact you believe that the school has on its students?
A consistent theme from input we’ve received from our students, parents, and faculty is that the major impact on our students has been gaining an understanding of their learning disabilities, learning educational strategies that helped them be successful, and acquiring self-confidence that has positively affected all aspects of their lives.
Why did you choose to leave a planned gift to the school?
Next year, we will celebrate our 20th birthday, and there are plans to bring together the entire community involved in the growth of Hyde Park Day School. We know that we have changed the lives of our students and their families. My husband and I are making a planned gift to help ensure the future of this school so it can continue its important work and contributions. We encourage others to do the same!