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Local News

Cheryl McCarthy named winner of Athena Award

JOLIET – Cheryl McCarthy, superintendent of Joliet Township High Schools, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Athena Award by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Last week’s announcement came as somewhat of a surprise to McCarthy.

“I was shocked, but pleasantly so,” McCarthy said. “There have been so many wonderful women that have won the award that it’s very humbling.”

The Athena Award is presented annually to an area leader who demonstrates professional excellence, community service and actively assists women in realizing their full leadership potential.

“She really is truly an outstanding example of what Athena is all about,” Joliet Chamber Executive Vice President Mary Jaworski said. “She’s an incredible mentor and the real deal. She cares about her students, cares about her employees and cares about the community.”

The award will be presented at a Sept. 17 luncheon at Patrick Haley Mansion, 17 S. Center St., Joliet. Tickets are $35. Call 815-727-5371 or visit for tickets.

McCarthy started at Joliet West High School in 1986 as a math teacher. In 1996, she was promoted to division chair of the Math and Sciences Department. In 2001, she served as assistant principal for support operations before becoming principal in 2002 and assistant superintendent for educational services in 2010.

McCarthy is the first female superintendent in the history of Joliet Township High School.
As superintendent, McCarthy has led the implementation of the 1:1 Computing Initiative, which provides netbook computers to all JTHS students.  She has been instrumental in the implementation of the district’s strategic plan.

McCarthy is a member of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Rotary Club of Joliet, United Way of Will County, Three Rivers Educational Partnership for Manufacturing, and Three Rivers Educational Employment System, Zonta Club of Joliet, Joliet Region Interfaith Education Council, Leading Educational Alignment and Planning, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Learning Forward, National Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Three Rivers Education Partnership, Will County  K-12 School Safety Advisory Task Force and Chicagoland Speedway R.A.C.E. Committee.

The award is sponsored by the Council of Working Women, part of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and is made possible through D’Arcy Automobiles and First Community Financial Bank.

The award was started in 1982 to showcase women leaders at a time when women’s contributions were not always valued. The program came to Joliet in 1988.

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