Renowned as a teacher and psychologist, Frances Jane Wirth is proud of the impact she had on the students she worked with. Her goal was to help the children build the courage to improve and grow, so seeing their successes was a true joy. Ms. Wirth’s first job in the field was elementary education teacher at Decatur Public Schools, followed by elementary education teacher at River Trails District 26, teacher and research assistant at the Purdue Kephert Clinic for Autism, director of the graduate women’s residence hall at Purdue University, guidance counselor at School District 128, and dance teacher in Orland Park and Oak Forest, Illinois. She then became a school psychologist at School District 130 in Blue Island Illinois, School District 89 in Melrose Park, Illinois, and the Clarke County School District. She retired in 2005.
Outside of the classroom, Ms. Wirth enjoyed using her knowledge to help out in her community. Some of her most notable positions include neighborhood chairperson of Books for American Troops in Action in Afghanistan, ways and means chair of the Palos Orland Swim Association, participant in the Blue Island Evening Women’s Club for a Citywide Bike Path, and entertainment chair of the C. Sandburg High School “Drug Free” Graduation Party. She was also a member of the Palos Village Players Community, the Educators Community Professional Gender Equity Roundtable, the American Association of University Women Task Force, and the Moraine Valley Community College Commission.
Ms. Wirth prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Science in education from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Science in education from Purdue University. Then, to further her knowledge, she completed postgraduate coursework at the University of Wisconsin and Indiana State University and became certified as a school psychologist. She also joined prominent professional organizations like the Illinois School Psychologists Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the American Association of University Women. In recognition of her efforts, Ms. Wirth was honored with the A-plus Achievement Award by the Clarke County School District, the USO Gold Star Award for 300 Hours of Volunteer Service, and the Distinguished Member Award by the Alpha Delta Kappa Educational Sorority.
When Ms. Wirth has free time, she likes swimming, dancing, and reading. She has been the creator and leader of the neighborhood book discussion group.