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Beverly Skoff Elementary School opened in 2005, but who was Beverly Skoff?
Mrs. Skoff was born in Joliet and attended Wilson School, Joliet Township High School, and Joliet Junior College, where she received an Associate’s Degree. She started her career in education as a substitute teacher.
After marrying her husband John, the couple moved to Romeoville in 1951. Mrs. Skoff periodically served as a substitute teacher in the Valley View School District while raising her three children. She went back to school, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in education with a minor in psychology from Lewis College (now Lewis University) in 1962. She became a full-time teacher in Valley View when North View School opened in 1964. She left North View for St. Ambrose School prior to classes starting in 1966, but continued as a substitute teacher in Valley View during the summers of the 45-15 year around school plan*. In 1970, she found a long term home in Lockport with Homer School District 33C. She taught there until she went on medical leave in December of 1991. She passed away in August of 1993 at the age of 64.
Beverly Skoff preferred teaching elementary school, especially first grade. She was skilled in identifying learning disabilities in young students and placed a high value on reading, encouraging her classes to enhance their learning through books. An accomplished pianist, she often used music to help the kids express themselves. She was devoted to the success of her students both inside and outside of the classroom and would give individual attention to kids when needed. When one of her students was afraid to play on a swing, she worked with him to overcome that fear. By the end of the school year, he enjoyed swinging as much as the other children. Mrs. Skoff cared about her students and would follow their progress even after they left her class.
In the mid 2000s, Valley View School District approached the Skoff family about acquiring some of the land they owned to build two new schools. Because Mrs. Skoff had taught in the school district for several years, the family requested that one of the schools be named in her honor. The district granted that request. The new middle school was named after John J. Lukancic and the new elementary school was named after Beverly Skoff, the lifelong teacher.
*The 45-15 year around school plan was implemented when the number of students outpaced the available school facilities. In it, students were divided into four groups. Each group of students would stay home for 15 consecutive school days and then go to school for 45 consecutive school days while a different group stayed home.
This is the second in a series of six articles that explore the people the Romeoville Valley View Schools are named after.