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Thursday, March 1

2012 NASW Illinois District Awards

Nina Nguyen, NASW Illinois Chapter Manager, Membership and Communication

Congratulations to this year's 2012 NASW Illinois District Social Work Awards! The below individuals have exemplified in their professional and personal work the basic tenets of the social work profession—giving voice to those who are without voices. Award ceremonies will be held in the corresponding district across the state. To find out more information about the award ceremonies, be sure to check out district page: www.naswil.org/naswil/districts/.


Public Citizen of the Year: James Rowe
Jim Rowe is attorney with The Law Firm of Rowe & Associates and a candidate for Kankakee County State’s Attorney. His practice is devoted to fighting for those who have no voice in the justice system: victims and children. As a former assistant state’s attorney, Rowe prosecuted cases involving child abuse and neglect, ensuring that children were reunited with their family whenever possible, but always safe. In addition to working as an attorney, Rowe sits on the board of numerous child welfare agencies, advises local charities in Kankakee County, and hosts free monthly legal clinics for the Kankakee community.

Social Worker of the Year: Lynn Bos

Lifetime Achievement Award: Billie Terrell, PhD, MSW
Billie Terrell (PhD, Institute for Clinical Social Work; MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago) is chair/director of the MSW program and past director of the BSW program at University of St. Francis. She has been an active member of NASW for thirty-five years where she was elected twice as regional district chair, served on the Mental Health Task Force, and published articles for the association Networker magazine. She also has published and presented numerous articles on behavioral health from a multicultural perspective. Nationally, she was elected to the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) National Nominating Committee and represented CSWE on the National Veterans Task Force and Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity.



Public Citizen of the Year: Miriam Weinberger
Miriam Weinberger (MSA, Roosevelt University; MA, Northwestern University) is executive director of The ARK, a social service agency serving low-income individuals and families from throughout the Chicagoland Jewish community. The ARK relies on a small staff and over 2,000 professional and lay volunteers to provide a comprehensive array of free social, medical, and legal services. Miriam has been with The ARK since 1991 and has successfully led The ARK through continual growth and development, resulting in better service to clients, advancement of the professionalism of The ARK’s staff and operations, increased revenue, responsible fiscal management, and an enhancement of The ARK’s reputation in the community. She plans to retire in June 2012.


Public Citizen of the Year: Richard Kunnert

Social Worker of the Year: Lynn Cadmus, AM
Lynn Cadmus (AM, University of Chicago) has worked as therapist at Family Counseling Services in Rockford for nearly twenty-three years. Subsequently, she accepted a position at Janet Wattles Center (JWC) as therapist, and sixteen months accepted her current position as Trauma Therapist with the Therapeutic Intervention Program (TIP). TIP Court is Winnebago County’s mental health court, and Rosecrance Ware Center (formerly JWC) staffs the mental health part of the team.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Warren Heinke
Warren Heinke (MSSW; University of Wisconsin-Madison; LCSW, ACSW) assumed his first position in 1970 as a social worker and, later, supervisor with a Wisconsin direct services agency doing foster care, treatment foster care, and adoptions.  He became Regional Director of the Northern Region of Children's Home + Aid (Rockford, IL) in July 1982.  Program development was his special niche, and he expanded the region from a staff of 5 to 94 until his retirement in October 2009 as Regional VP.  He traveled with International Activities Network exchanges to Birmingham, England, and Hamburg, Germany, and People-to-People NASW trip to Soviet Union. He has been a member of NASW since 1971.


Public Citizen of the Year: Anthony Kopera
Anthony Kopera (PhD, Loyola University) has served as Chief Executive of the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) since 1980. Prior to C4, he was associate professor of psychology at Northeastern Illinois University. Anthony has served on a variety of task forces since 1980, working on special focus groups in the areas of community mental health, children’s services, family services for the office of the governor, and policy and advocacy groups.

Social Worker of the Year: Cheri Sinnott, LCSW
Cheri Sinnott (MSW, Washington University; LCSW) is director of the Illinois Service Resource Center, a statewide technical assistance center of the Illinois State Board of Education, serving the behavioral needs of students who are deaf and hard of hearing in Illinois. She is adjunct faculty instructor at College of Lake County and maintains a private therapy practice. From 2007 to 2011, Cheri also served on the board of directors as the Northeastern District Chair for the National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Margaret Powers
Margaret Powers (MSW, Loyola University Chicago; MA, University of Connecticut; LCSW) has been a private practice divorce and family mediator for more than twenty-five years. An established clinical social worker, Margaret maintains her practice in downtown Arlington Heights, IL. She is a founding member of several local and national mediation and conflict resolution organizations, and has taught mediation internationally. Margaret is adjunct faculty at Northwestern University and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she teaches mediation. 



Public Citizen of the Year: Stanley Schlarman

Social Worker of the Year: Andrea Shaw
Andrea Shaw (MSW, State University of New York at Buffalo; LCSW) has experience as a clinical manager, therapist, and as a workplace employee assistance professional (EAP) provider. Her roles have included program development, psychotherapy, and administration of mental health and addictions services to adults and adolescents in a variety of settings. Her work with individuals who have attempted suicide and the family members of those who have lost a loved one due to suicide or a drug overdose prompted her to establish Prairie State Prevention Education, Inc., a nonprofit community education agency. Through use of volunteers and community members, Andrea hopes to educate individuals about the supports and resources available to prevent the negative consequences of suicide, addiction, or other behaviors that directly impact the individuals, families, and communities.



Public Citizen of the Year: David Leitch
Representative David R. Leitch (R-Peoria) is serving his eleventh term in the Illinois General Assembly. He has received numerous awards for his community service, responsiveness to his constituents, and his legislative service. When the local (Peoria) state hospital was closing in 2002, Rep. Leitch organized a meeting of mental health providers to plan for community-based treatment and ensure community agencies and hospitals were adequately funded to deliver treatment in the community.



Social Worker of the Year: Joseph Croegaert, MSW, LCSW
Joseph Croegaert (MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) has worked thirty-seven years in the social work field. He has worked for the last seven years as a counselor with Chapin & Russell Associates, a private counseling practice in Peoria. Joe has also worked with the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health for the last ten years, most recently as an Evidence-Based Supported Employment Trainer and Coordinator and Contract Manager, assisting community mental health centers in central Illinois. Prior to this, Joe worked for twenty-two years in the child welfare field, in the private sector.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Sandra Mills
Sandra J. Mills (EdD, Northern Illinois University; MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) joined Sangamon State University (now University of Illinois at Springfield [UIS]) as a visiting professor in 1994 and achieved tenure in 2001. She taught both graduate and undergraduate levels in the Child, Family, and Community Services Program. Sandy retired as director of social work field education and associate professor of social work at UIS, where she taught courses in policy, advocacy, and community organizing. She has worked in direct practice work in Peoria for over sixteen years. Sandy was also the legislative affairs consultant for the National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter (NASW IL) for seventeen years until her retirement in December of 2007. 



Social Worker of the Year: Sara Klaas
Sara Klaas (MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago) is director of the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Service at Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago, and has worked at Shriners Hospital for over 22 years. Sara speaks nationally on pediatric SCI and is well published in the field. Sara co-founded a sports and conditioning camp and a scuba adventure travel program for adolescents with SCI as well as a self-esteem and body-image camp for adolescent girls and a wheelchair body-building camp for adolescent boys. She serves on the board of the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois, the Illinois Governor’s Council for Brain and Spinal Cord Injury, the medical and scientific advisory board for the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and is the chair of the prevention committee for the American Spinal Injury Association.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Daniel Kill, MSW, LCSW
Daniel Kill (MSW, Loyola University; LCSW) is currently semi-retired and has a private clinical and consulting practice in Oak Park, IL. Dan was the president/CEO at Thrive Counseling Center located in Oak Park from 1996 thru July 2011. Throughout his social work career, Dan has lived out his personal belief of giving back to the community. Dan has served as treasurer of the NASW Illinois Chapter Board of Directors and represented NASW Illinois Chapter members at two national NASW Delegate Assemblies.




Public Citizen of the Year: Jeffrey B. Ford, JD
Jeffrey B. Ford (JD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) was sworn in as judge on July 1, 1985, after eight-and-a-half years in the state’s attorney’s office and in private practice. In 1994, he was awarded the State of Illinois Outstanding Support Person by MADD. In 2010, the Illinois Traffic Safety Leaders presented Judge Ford with the Joanne Blair Award for exemplary leadership in the area of traffic safety in Illinois. The Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois recognized him as a Distinguished Alumni at its graduation in May 2011.

Social Worker of the Year: Sandra Kopels, JD, MSW
Sandra Kopels (JD, MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and also a licensed attorney. Prior to joining the UIUC faculty, she was director of the Legal Advocacy Service of the State of Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. Presently, Sandra serves as managing editor of School Social Work Journal and is a reviewer for numerous social work journals. She is a member of NASW and has served as a member of the State of Illinois Child Welfare Employee Licensure Board. Sandra has served as a trustee, vice-chair, and chair of the NASW Legal Defense Fund. She is coauthor of Social Work Records with Jill Doner Kagle.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, LSW
Kathryn Conley Wehrmann (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LSW), is associate professor at the Illinois State University School of Social Work where she teaches research and evaluation and serves as a field liaison for MSW students. Her professional experience includes a background in public child welfare. She has worked extensively with Romanian officials on child welfare reform efforts and has also been awarded Fulbright Senior Scholarships for research and teaching in Romania. She is a past president of The Crisis Nursery of Champaign and currently serves on the board of The Baby Fold in Normal, IL. She has also served as past-president of the NASW Illinois Chapter.

Posted on 03/01/12 at 12:46 PM


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