Retiring division head Relich values collaboration with students, staff


Natalia Habas, Sectional Editor

With the 2018-19 school year ending, senior students aren’t the only ones leaving Elk Grove.

“I had an agreement with my students in my senior class, that we were all graduating together after 38 years, I’m finally graduating,” Wendy Relich said.

Relich, the English and fine arts division head and teacher, is retiring from Elk Grove High School and District 214.

As the English division head for five years, Relich has accomplished a tremendous amount of work with administrators, teachers and students. Relich mostly worked with teacher groups to develop instructional strategies and practices for student learning.

“One of my best moments was working with my teachers and some of the conversations that we’ve had this year about all of the amazing work we’ve done to create some really good classes for our students,” Relich said. “And I’m so proud of the work that the teachers have done in my division.”

Before starting her time at Elk Grove, Relich was a teacher in Wisconsin, where she was also a chairperson. When she moved to Illinois 12 years ago, she taught at Wheeling High School for seven years. Then, Relich got the call and was hired as the division head at Elk Grove.

Along with working with teachers throughout the school, Relich also collaborated with administrators as a member of the A-Team.

“What we do is work on big picture ideas for the school, goals that we have for Elk Grove High School and initiatives that we would like to do,” Relich said.

Relich also teaches one class: senior english and advanced reading.

“Right now we’re all of track to graduate at the right time, I’m very proud of my students,” she said.

Aside from teaching, Relich was involved in the literacy committee and summer reading. The literacy committee worked on ways to promote reading and student improvement in reading.

Relich has also spent time working at the Oasis Mobile Home Park’s library, where she helps students check out books.

Throughout her time at Elk Grove, Relich said she had noticed a change in culture throughout the school.

“One of the things that I’ve noticed is that, as a building, we focused a lot more on specific ideas,” Relich said. “Now there’s a lot more focus on student’s well-being.”

After retiring, Relich plans on moving back to Wisconsin back to her family. Because her son is the vice principal of a high school in the state, Relich can go back and be a substitute teacher if she gets the itch to teach.

Relich also said she plans on doing a lot of volunteer work.

“I’m planning to work at the Humane Society, and I’m also going to work at the Children’s Hospital just doing volunteer work,” Relich said.

With her work ending at Elk Grove, Relich said she feels grateful to have been a part of the Grenadier community. She said she’s been fortunate to work at the school and work with other administrators, including Principal Paul Kelly, assistant principal of instruction Megan Knight, Valerie Norris and English/fine arts division assistant Laura Shrout.

“I think everybody’s made me a better person and a better teacher,” Relich said.