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D15 Stories: Dr. Frank Tavano District 15 Substitute Teacher

It is hard not to be drawn to substitute teacher Dr. Frank Tavano when he’s present in one of District 15’s elementary schools. His positive demeanor and energetic attitude is a draw for students and staff alike.

“Hi Mr. T!” a student shouts as he waves across the hallway. He responds enthusiastically, genuinely excited to greet each and every child he sees.

Dr. Tavano is more than the average substitute teacher. He’s a retired school superintendent, having spent 38 years in K-12 education.

“I take whatever job is open!” he said with a smile while greeting children in the Stuart R. Paddock lunch room. “I love the kids, I love the faculty, I love the parents, it’s just a great place to be. I walk into this building and I just feel welcome.”

Dr. Tavano is more than the average substitute teacher. He’s a retired school superintendent, having spent 38 years in K-12 education. After retiring from his post as Superintendent of Schools in Rosemont District 78, he transitioned into higher education, working as a professor of elementary education at DePaul University until he retired from that role in 2018.

The Palatine resident and former District 15 parent fills substitute teacher openings at many District 15 schools including Stuart R. Paddock, Central Road, Lake Louise, Thomas Jefferson and Hunting Ridge. Tavano says he chooses to be a substitute teacher because for him, it’s all about the kids.

“I was working in a classroom this morning and one little boy didn’t understand that zero times any number is zero. Then all of sudden...he got it! It was this lightbulb moment. And that makes it all worthwhile for me,” Tavano said.

“I feel so honored that I’m able to do substitute teaching, I really do."

Tavano is a longtime Palatine resident whose son attended Hunting Ridge and Plum Grove Schools. Paddock Principal Rachel Bland says it’s a joy to have Tavano as a substitute.

“I often find him in the lunchroom or other places in the school chatting with students and staff. He is wonderful and we are so fortunate to have him serve as a mentor and teacher for both our students AND our staff!" she said.

For Tavano, the experience of working as a classroom teacher substitute is one that adds value to his life.

“I feel so honored that I’m able to do substitute teaching, I really do,” he said.

Dr. Frank Tavano at Paddock School
Created By
Morgan Delack
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