Lake Zurich volunteer commits to Isaac Fox
Mary Santi, a parent-volunteer at Lake Zurich's Isaac Fox School, has devoted much of her time to the school’s reading labs . | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 23, 2013 9:04AM
LAKE ZURICH — Though the season of giving has come to a close, Mary Santi’s volunteer work hasn’t.
In December, Santi was named parent volunteer of the month by the District 95 School Board, which recognized her ongoing commitment to Isaac Fox Elementary School’s reading lab, Jump Rope for Heart initiative and the district’s Indoor Air Quality Committee.
Santi has devoted much of her time to Isaac Fox’s reading lab, which was initially developed during the 2008-09 school year.
Among other accomplishments, Isaac Fox principal Jill Brooks commended Santi for attending additional training with the school’s reading specialists to become a more effective reading lab trainer for the other parent volunteers.
“Throughout all of these commitments, Mary has maintained the ultimate level of confidentiality and reliability in her service for the good of all,” Brooks said. “We feel fortunate to be in a community where there are parents, such as Mary, who are so supportive of our schools and education.”
Q: Where did you live prior to the Lake Zurich area?
A: I grew up in Michigan, in the Lansing area, and later lived in Minnesota, Connecticut and Georgia — I’ve lived all over.
Q: How do the towns in those areas compare to the Lake Zurich area?
A: They’re all very different and it’s hard to say because the school that I taught at in Georgia was a poor, rural school, and then I substituted in an affluent town in Connecticut. The town we lived at in Minnesota, where my daughter had gone to school, was more like Lake Zurich — more suburban than rural. Minnesota was colder than it is here, though.
Q: Do you have children in the district?
A: I have two: A daughter, who’s a sophomore at Lake Zurich High School, and a son in fifth-grade at Isaac Fox.
Q: How long have you been volunteering at Isaac Fox?
A: For four years. When we moved here from Minnesota my kids started at Quentin in 2007, and when Quentin closed we moved to Isaac Fox; so I’ve been a member of the PTO and Indoor Air Quality Committee for four years, and have been doing the reading lab for the same amount of time. It’s also my second year co-chairing Jump Rope for Heart, which is a fund-raiser for the American Heart Association.
Q: What inspires you to volunteer?
A: I really enjoy helping people and giving back to the community. I also volunteer with the Bear Boosters at LZHS and at my church, St. John United Church of Christ in Arlington Heights.
Q: What does your work with the reading lab involve?
A: We provide support for kids who need extra help with reading outside the classroom during the school day. We’ve done this for the last several years, but it’s changed because it’s a new program now that’s offered to first- through fifth-graders that meets three days each week in the morning and afternoon.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not volunteering?
A: Spending time with family, reading, visiting art museums. I also love to travel when I can; we have a cottage up in northern Michigan. I like traveling to new places, too, though it’s difficult to do that on a more frequent basis when you have kids.
Q: Where have you traveled?
A: I’ve been to Europe, Australia, all 50 states. Growing up, we did a lot of stateside traveling, and when I got married my husband and I visited the states I didn’t get to. I also did overseas traveling before I got married — if you want to travel, that’s the time to do it.
Q: What was your favorite traveling destination?
A: Australia. I love the outback and Uluru Ayers Rock, which is a huge monolith. Australia is roughly the same size as the continental United States, but a lot less populated, so there’s more open land out there. The outback is bare and you’re out in the middle of nowhere. The monolith really stands out and is cool to see.