Two Pillars of District Office Retire this Summer
Each year, Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 loses decades of experience when professionals retire, but two key figures in the District office who’ve been vital to the District’s success are celebrating their final days this month.
Risa Hanson, chief financial officer, and Lynn Mohan, executive assistant to the superintendent, both retire at the end of June after a combined 44 years of service.
Superintendent Mike Moan said he’s grateful for Hanson’s stewardship and professionalism during his entire career in District 200.
“I’ve been so fortunate to work with a qualified and dedicated CFO in my time in District 200. District 200 has been blessed to have Risa’s leadership in our fiscal department for close to two decades. Risa has worked hard to maintain quality education weighed with the concerns of our taxpayers, and we will miss her leadership and service to all District 200 stakeholders.”
Hanson began her career in school finance at age 18 in her native Rockford where she worked while attending classes and eventually earned her master’s degree in school business administration. In 2000, she was hired as an assistant business manager by Ray Reynolds, then the D 200 assistant superintendent for finance and operations.
In 2003 District 200 named Hanson CFO. She has since become a leader and mentor in the school finance community. Hanson and her business office team were awarded the Certificate of Excellence from the International Association of School Business Professionals for 21 consecutive years and earned the organization’s Meritorious Budget Award for 16 straight years.
Hanson, who describes herself as detailed and meticulous, said she always loved accounting but particularly enjoyed working in education.
“It’s just such a positive work environment. People are really here for one another. It’s not like corporate America where you’re trying to outdo one another. We’re here to work together for the benefit of the students, ” she said. “District 200 is big enough to be efficient, but it’s small enough to be personable and caring.”
She said she’ll particularly miss her business office staff but will also miss fellow administrators, teachers, custodians, bus drivers and people all across the district. “They’re all just really here for the right reasons.”
Hanson and her husband Russ hope to spend some time at their property near Madison and travel to see family across the US during her retirement.
Hanson’s role will be filled by Julie Dillon, Hanson’s former assistant and a former Woodstock City Council member.
Moan said it’s hard to imagine District 200 without Mohan who’s remained in Wonder Lake since she attended Greenwood Elementary School as a child before working her way up to the vital role she’s played for the last 15 years.
“Lynn has been such an integral part of District 200 for decades and offered tremendous support for me and the responsibilities of the Superintendency. Her leadership in the district office has been amazing, but her true passion each day has been her focus on what’s best for our students, our families and our staff. We’re so appreciative of Lynn’s dedication and thank her for a lifetime spent in service of District 200.”
Mohan, a 1978 Woodstock High School grad, began working for the district in 1988 conducting vision and hearing screenings for children. She worked at Westwood when it was a kindergarten, helped transition that program into Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center and eventually took on her current position under then Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski in 2006.
She and her husband George also sent their daughter Emily to the same schools she attended until she graduated from Woodstock High School in 2000. She could be found then selling tickets or ushering at Blue Streaks games. Throughout her career, Mohan said she always viewed the district from the perspective of a parent.
Mohan said she’s always considered it important to lay the groundwork early for families, making them feel comfortable and involved, which starts in kindergarten and carries through at the other schools.
“I think we do a really good job with that,” she said. “We’re such an extension of them. They put their trust in us and we have to be very cognizant of that.”
Mohan said she also hopes to travel around the US in their motorhome to see much of the country they haven’t had time to see.
Mohan’s role will be filled by Elizabeth (Lisa) Adams, who is currently an administrative assistant in the District 200 Teaching and Learning Department.