Troy 30-C teachers, social workers earn statewide Distinguished Service Award  Staff honored at Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association Luncheon

Two teachers and three social workers at Troy Community School District 30-C were chosen by the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association to receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award in the team category.

Amy Giefer and Tara Minogue, social workers at Troy Hofer Elementary School; Josefa Lopez, social worker at Troy Cronin Elementary School and Kimberly Rothstein, kindergarten special education teacher at Cronin; and Melissa Lundy, 1st grade teacher at Troy Heritage Trail Elementary School, received their awards at a special INSPRA luncheon held in their honor.

The Troy staff received the award for the work they do creating school-community links by connecting their schools to local volunteer comfort dog programs, which help their students with reading skills, social-emotional skills and grief.

One of the groups Troy works with is the Lutheran Church Charities Kare-9 Military Ministry Dog Program, which is carried out by veterans. The dogs give comfort, love and support to the students and staff, and the veterans also benefit by interacting with the students and by taking on the responsibilities associated with the program. The school-community benefits have been many.

Giefer and Minogue brought in a comfort dog after the loss of a staff member. Creating the link between the school and the handlers was a privilege, and the new connection has become a wonderful resource for them.


Lundy saw a need to help the shyest of her young readers feel more comfortable with reading aloud. She found that reading to the therapy dogs transformed their read-aloud skills.


Rothstein and Lopez collaborate with local dog handlers for help with reading skills and for SEL purposes. Rothstein said her special education students do not feel their reading skills are judged by the dogs, which gives them confidence to expand their skills.