Dr. Sharon Duncan’s Lasting Impact at Elim

July 9, 2019

Elim Christian Services announces that Dr. Sharon Duncan, Vice President of Programming, will retire effective June 25, 2019 and that her successor, Dr. Vanessa Scott, will step into the role starting this fall.

Sharon has acted as the Vice President of Programming since April, 2015, and has given her time and expertise in many ways to Elim for over 20 years. Her notable projects as Vice President of Programming include supporting the initiative that is now called Elim Learning in order to fully equip Elim staff, partners, and the surrounding communities to serve and be advocates for individuals with disabilities; working with Elim’s Adult Services team to transition to a community-based program; and playing an important part in positioning Elim well with regulatory and accreditation agencies, including  overseeing two outstanding CARF evaluations.

Prior to her leadership as the Vice President of Programming, Sharon served Elim in many capacities. She began her time with Elim in 2001 as a special education teacher where she transitioned into an Assistant Principal for six years. While teaching elsewhere, she remained a consultant for Elim’s educational services and outreach, and was a frequent volunteer. For years she has played a critical role in progressing Elim to where it is today, and remains an active voice in the work that Elim does.

Dr. Duncan has served in many roles as a professional educator, starting 39 years ago as a teacher at St. Nicolas of Tolentine Catholic School in Chicago, and also for Saints Cyril and Methodius in Lemont, for Park Lawn Association, Kennedy School of St. Coletta’s, Elim Christian Services, and in the Chicago Public Schools, including Piccolo Middle School, Wendell Johnston School, and James Otis School. Dr. Duncan also served as an adjunct professor at National-Louis University and Trinity Christian College before teaching at St. Xavier in the School of Education. Prior to taking on her role as the Vice President of Programming at Elim, Dr. Duncan served as a consultant for Elim’s school program and Professor at Purdue Calumet in Hammond ( Purdue Northwest) in the School of Education Graduate Studies where she was the lead professor for a grant-funded program to teach teachers to better support students with Intensive needs. Dr. Duncan is also the director of Abide in Me (Lemont), a nonprofit ensuring that people with disabilities have active and engaged lives.

Sharon is excited to see Elim move forward as it continues to establish its identity of being a source of education and growth for not only Elim’s students and adults, but for its staff and surrounding communities. She is proud that Elim exists to showcase the great strengths, skills, and value of all people.

“Sharon has been a strong advocate for all Elim does in programming. She is deeply passionate in this field, and because of that, she has been driven to do everything she can to campaign for the individuals and communities Elim serves”

expressed Dr. Bill Lodewyk, Elim President.

In conjunction with her roles at Elim, Sharon has been an educator for 39 years. She has taught at 13 different schools and educated classrooms from Kindergarten through Master’s level courses. Sharon reflected that she had to move on from many schools and positions, yet Elim remained the place she kept coming back to. “Even when I didn’t spend my days physically working in Elim’s buildings, I still used every opportunity to share my ‘Elim’ with the world.”

As Sharon wraps her time as Vice President of Programming, she is hopeful that the tools she is leaving behind for Dr. Vanessa Scott will guide her to finding her own ‘Elim’. She suspects that Scott will soon know what a gift it is to be a part of the organization.

“I want to commend Sharon for the amazing job she has done at Elim, and the work she has done for positioning the organization for future opportunities.” Bill concluded. “Her experience, knowledge, and hard work have served Elim really well over the years. I look forward to the future of this role as Sharon has paved the way for Elim to continue to be a vibrant and impactful community.”

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