LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Sunil Mody

Position: Principal
School: Northlake Middle School
School District: Berkeley School District 87
City, State: Northlake, IL

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Comments (22)

Lisa Allen Posted over a year ago

Dr Mody is a distinguished Administrator in the fact that he sets the tone of the school by his positive presence. When you walk into Northlake he is there to greet staff, student and parents with a smile, high five or even a hug. Dr Mody takes the time to know everyone and finds a way to make you feel important. Dr Mody wants his students and staff to be successful and continuously looks for ways to help them achieve their goals. I had the honor of working along side him for several years as Northlake’s School Social worker. I saw first hand Dr Mody’s passion for others. Dr. Mody understands that In order to help each student reach their full potential their social/emotional needs are equal to their academic needs. Dr. Mody is a an amazing leader who changes the lives of others on a daily basis.

Lisa Venable Neadly Posted over a year ago

Life changer of the year is a perfect descriptor of Dr. Sunil Mody. I had the pleasure of having my first teaching job be under the guidance of Dr. Mody. For 5 years I learned about what makes a quality leader and who to aspire to be like. He is extremely dedicated to his students, their families, and his staff. He constantly is seeing what else he can do for everyone. He listens to all ideas and is willing to try new things when they will benefit his students. Dr. Mody is an inspiration to all principals and leaders on what to aspire to be. I feel incredibly lucky to have learned so much from him over the 8 years of knowing him and believe him to be a life changer to all he meets.

LaTesh Travis Posted over a year ago

Dr. Sunil Mody is a servant leader whose care and concern for his Northlake School Community can be felt as soon as you enter the doors of the school building. He has positive relationships with his students, their families, and his staff. Dr. Mody exhibits professionalism, grace, humility, knowledge, and a great sense of humor. He is a prolific speaker and writer. When he speaks, he captivates his audience's attention. Dr. Mody is collaborative and believes in shared leadership. He works well alongside his principal and assistant principal colleagues as well as the district leadership team. It is an extreme pleasure and honor to work with such an outstanding leader for the past 7 and a half years as one of my colleagues. I am very proud of his nomination for such a distinguished award.

Steven Lee Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of working at Northlake Middle School under the leadership of Dr. Mody for the past four years. Dr. Mody has shown great compassion and dedication to students, teachers and staff members. He has an open door policy and is approachable for anyone having an issue. Dr. Mody is always visible and can be seen positively interacting with students daily. He demonstrates genuine care and concern for each students' well-being. He regularly sits in the lunch room and eats with students talking to them and getting to know them on a deeper level. Dr. Mody employs democratic leadership, which demonstrates his concern for the thoughts and opinions of the staff at North Lake Middle School. He is not only well-respected in District 87, but he also has gained the respect of community members in NorthLake. Life Changer describes Dr. Mody perfectly, which is the reason he is extremely deserving of this award.

Sharon Urbaniec Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Dr. Mody for the last year and a half. He is a dedicated and loving educator. Dr. Mody always conducts himself professionally and sets the clear expectation that all- staff and students alike- must be treated respectfully. Dr. Mody advocates for his students and leads by example to show the students they can achieve great things. Dr. Mody is always pushing his community to strive for great things in their life---he doesn't let people settle. Dr. Mody is a fabulous example of what a true educator is- caring, compassionate, and understanding.

Tracy Bodenstab Posted over a year ago

I have had the honor to work with Dr. Sunil Mody for the past 7 years. Dr. Mody has a huge heart and relates well with his students. Dr. Mody cares about all his staff and students. Sunil uses his literature background as well as his life experiences to motivate his staff and students. Dr. Mody can tell an inspirational story and get everyone on board for the common mission. Dr. Sunil Mody has changed many lives at Northlake Middle School, including mine!

Kara Mieszanek Posted over a year ago

Leadership can often be a position, a title, or the “next step” in an individual’s work ladder. But true leadership goes far beyond that. True leaders not only aspire to continue to grow him/herself, but inspire others to want to be the best they can be. These individuals most often times show their leadership through their authentic actions and relationships in their day to day work. It’s not rote or taught - but an innate passion that exudes in everything they do. Every once in awhile, you have the pleasure of meeting an individual like I have described, and I am honored to say I have had that privilege myself. That passionate, tenacious, visionary leader is Dr. Sunil Mody. Dedication to his role, the district, and the community comes out in everything that Sunil takes part in. His relationships with his staff and students are his pride and drive him in his work. When entering his building, you will rarely find him in his office, instead you see him in classrooms, engaging with students during their lunches, and at the events after school, you can be sure to find him cheering on the sidelines or conversing with families. Parents and community members feel welcome to meet with him and desire to work together because they can sense his genuinity and concern. When Dr. Mody walks into a room, you can feel his presence. His hunger to learn and grow, his desire to excel, and his excitement about education transcends through all levels of our district. Our leadership team, staff, families and students of District 87 can attest to this. His knowledgeable thoughts, sincere relationships, conversations on our leadership team, and his involvement at both building and district level, have assisted our entire district moving forward in more positive and productive ways. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader.” If this is the truth, then Dr. Sunil Mody exudes every characteristic of leadership.

Nerissa Lee Posted over a year ago

Dr. Mody has been an asset to District 87 for the past eight years. He leads with integrity and dedication. He understands the challenges of Northlake Middle School and he stands united with the teachers and all other staff members to be a change agent. Dr. Mody exhibits professionalism daily and leads by example. He has high expectations for every student and provides them with healthy, nurturing learning experiences everyday. I worked with Dr. Mody when he was a teacher at Proviso West High School and to see his growth and transformation over the years is astounding. While he is the principal of Northlake Middle School and has a multitude of responsibilities, he helps the custodians sweep the hallways and the lunchroom monitors clean tables in the cafeteria after students eat. Dr. Mody works with his staff in every capacity to ensure students are safe in his building and to provide students with the academic tools they need to be successful. Dr. Mody has demonstrated effective leadership and willingness to take risks for the betterment of Northlake Middle School. I highly recommend Dr. Mody for the Life Changer of the Year Award.

Dan Sullivan Posted over a year ago

Dr. Mody sets a positive example for students, staff and families. Dr. Mody understands that there is a difference between "teaching" and "learning." Dr. Mody strives to model the importance of continual learning--for everyone. Dr. Mody forces himself out of his comfort zone in order to develop empathy for learners. Dr. Mody is sincere with his leadership efforts and with promoting a culture of kindness while at the same time advocating for high expectations for himself and others. Dr. Mody has created a strong, positive culture at Northlake Middle School. Dr. Mody seeks "first to understand, then to be understood." This approach has led to Dr. Mody being effective at building relationships built on honesty, respect and trust. As an instructional leader, Dr. Mody strives to inspire, teachers, students and families to have high expectations for their growth--whether it be personal / academic - parenting or professional; Dr. Mody models continual learning and an attitude of improvement. It has been my pleasure to be a colleague of Dr. Sunil Mody.

Dawn Chester Posted over a year ago

The recognition of LifeChanger is a wonderful way to sum up the career of Dr. Sunil Mody. I have worked for a variety of principals during my twenty-six year career and Dr. Mody has been my longest and most influential. Every student in the school is his number one priority. No matter what the student needs to become successful, Dr. Mody works tirelessly to help us all achieve this goal. He plays basketball with students before school and enjoys students during lunch in the cafeteria or his office each day. His time at work is truly devoted to the kids, not emails, taking days off, or having his office door closed. When speaking about his door closed, it is only when student concerns arrive, which is a rarity. The students are taught the Five P’s of Success (prompt, prepared, positive, pay attention, and persevere) at our school and this mantra is followed due to high expectations of our students and consistency among all staff members. Dr. Mody established this when he came to our school several years ago and each year the students become more successful. As a science educator and Student Council sponsor, I personally ask Dr. Mody for many challenging things to increase student engagement and create responsible citizens for the future. He finds a way to encourage me to become better at everything I do at my job. Dr. Mody supports our student council with raising money for charities, allowing students to donate their time to others, and increasing a family feeling among the students and faculty. His messages to the students demonstrates the depth of his caring nature toward each and every one of them. I have been teaching science for nearly twenty years and my passion for my job is constantly increasing due to the support of my administrator. In other words, I ask Dr. Mody for challenging requests and assistance often to increase my talents in teaching science to our students each day. Last year, when I applied for a fellowship to go on a World Wildlife Federation Monarch Migration educational trip, he volunteered to teach my class for a week if I won. I found this act of support to be an amazing amount of dedication not only to him believing in what I could bring back in knowledge and lessons, but his ability to step out of his office and devote his time to our kids. He has also found a way for me to study Whale Sharks in Mexico and the plastics threatening their survival over winter break. I am always excited to see him stop by my classroom to see the future planet stewards he is helping me create. These are just a few examples of Dr. Mody changing the lives of students in many ways, each and every day he is at our school. I am very lucky and privileged to have him as my principal.

Sherri Rodriguez Posted over a year ago

I have been honored to serve our school community alongside Dr. Sunil Mody. In the time I have come to know him, his love and dedication to his school community is truly inspirational. He is able to reflect and draw on his own past experiences in order connect and inspire the teachers and students of Northlake Middle School. He does this by putting the students first, by empowering and challenging them along with the teachers he leads to reach for the stars despite any obstacle put in their way. As educators, we have the power to change lives though we rarely ever get the opportunity to see how, and I am certain that the number of lives he has changed through his love and passion for education is infinite.

Katie Hannigan Posted over a year ago

Dr. Sunil Mody has been one of the most influential people in my life. I had the great fortune of working alongside him as his Assistant Principal for three years, and I can say without hesitation that I am a better person because of my time with him. Sunil works tirelessly, day in and day out, to provide students with a nurturing place to learn and excel. He shows his students with every decision he makes that he loves them and wants them to achieve their dreams. Over the three years that I worked with Sunil I saw him support his students, staff, and community in as many ways as he could think of. There has never been a job too big or too small for him; he will simply roll up his sleeves and get to work on whatever needs to be done. Students come to him for emotional support, academic support, or just to shoot some hoops or tell a few jokes. He is truly one of a kind, and Northlake Middle School could not have found itself under better leadership than with Sunil at the helm. I have personally witnessed him changing the lives of hundreds of students - he pushes them to be the best versions of themselves while not being afraid to make mistakes, he inspires his staff to support students in the same way, and he works with parents in any capacity that they need as well. I have been very fortunate throughout my career to work with many fantastic educators, and I am grateful for the things that I've learned from each one of them. However, Sunil stands out from the rest. He approaches education with such passion and fervor; his drive to improve the lives of his students is contagious. It is impossible to spend time with Sunil without feeling reinvigorated to help students. He is a remarkable person, educator, and leader. I can think of no more deserving recipient for a Life Changer of the Year Award.

Catherine Williams Posted over a year ago

Dr. Mody is a caring and incredible leader at Northlake Middle School. He dedicated his time and effort into making sure the staff and students are in a safe and family-oriented environment. It's a pleasure and privilege to work with an individual who appreciates the effort and time that you give at Northlake Middle School. Dr. Mody treats each student fairly, and he understands the student's needs. Dr. Mody deserves being LifeChange of the year and much more. Congratulation, Dr. Mody.

Joe Byrne Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Dr. Mody in my roll of Director of Ed Technology over the past 7 years. Dr. Mody is a leader that truly cares about all students and all staff. He demonstrates this each and every day through both his words and actions. I have seen the way Dr. Mody supports and inspires those around him, which has inspired me and has made me a better leader in my role. Dr. Mody takes the time to listen as well as provide guidance and support as needed to those he serves. Dr. Mody makes those around him better.

Danyelle L Shannon Posted over a year ago

Dr. Sunil Mody is an amazing leader who shows compassion, understanding and a great amount of strength. He is firm, yet kind. Our work environment feels like family. It would not be the welcoming place it is without his influence. Thank you for being a leader we are all proud to follow!!

Vivian Pappas Posted over a year ago

Dr. Mody is a one of a kind principal. Everyday he makes sure to walk the hallways and check in with the staff and students. He takes time out of his busy schedule to sit with the students at lunch or to play ball with them during PE. Dr. Mody motivates the students and staff to go the extra mile and persevere! He knows how important an education is and makes sure that all students receive one. Northlake Middle School is like a second home to me and it is because of people like Dr. Mody! Good luck Dr. Mody!

Frank Bua Posted over a year ago

I have had Dr. Mody as a principal since he has come to Northlake Middle School six years ago. He has truly been a life changer in my life and in the lives of our students. In my particular case my morale was low and declining. When I first began teaching my morale and excitement for teaching was over the top. As the years passed all that excitement slowly dwindled. I will refrain from expounding on those many reasons. When Sunil took over as Principal of Northlake Middle School my downward spiral was in full swing. However, I did not realize it at the time, but from day one of his tenure that downward spiral had reversed itself. And slowly but surely my morale and excitement for teaching is once again back over the top thanks to Dr. Mody. When Dr. Mody tells us that we are respected and appreciated as educators it is not just lip service it comes from the heart. To delineate the ways in which he shows us this respect each and every day would not be possible. But, suffice to say he does. As far as the students happiness at Northlake goes Sunil has brought them a long way as well. He encourages us to make personal connections with the students which would build a solid foundation for learning. While we as educators try and accomplish this daily so does Dr. Mody. The connections he makes with the students just naturally spills over to teacher-student. Words cannot explain principal-teacher, teacher-student, principal-student connections (respect). I believe I can say without fear of contradiction that Dr. Mody has been a life changer in the student body, faculty, and staff of Northlake Middle School. I am a happier person today because of it.

Maria Hendricks Posted over a year ago

My name is Maria Hendricks and I have had the pleasure and honor of working alongside Dr. Sunil Mody as his assistant principal for the past two years. As I entered my journey into administration, Sunil challenged me to always stay true to myself and do what is best for kids. Students in the community that we serve come from various backgrounds, many are not as fortunate, and Sunil stressed to our staff that each child deserves and will receive a quality education at Northlake Middle School. He held his staff to high expectations because he knew what our potential was, he also knew what his vision was for Northlake and wanted to ensure anyone who contributed, was committed to it as well. At Northlake, he has created a culture and climate of family and belonging. Everyone is loved and welcomed, many schools say that they have that environment as well, but we truly do. When you walk into NMS, you can feel it and he embodies it. Sunil was never one to use his title as a way to do more or less, he helped wherever he was needed. As he says, “All means all.” It was not uncommon to see him assisting the custodians with set ups for athletic events or assemblies, or cleaning the cafeteria. We all supported one another to ensure the students had the best experience, that is the kind of culture he established and modeled. The relationship with the families & the community that he has fostered has been immeasurable. He invites parents to meet with him multiple times a year to have an open forum for them to share their frustrations and celebrations. Student-centered has always been his mindset and he ensures they know that he is their biggest confidant. Students would request to play basketball with him, he would high five them happily and have lunch with them whenever they asked. However, when the time came to hold them accountable, he did just that. This not only happened with students, but also with staff. Sunil was never afraid to challenge the status quo if that was what was best for students. He handled change as both a leader and team member. He never made the pressure he was under be visible to others; his demeanor was always very calm and rational. At the building, SEL is a primary focus and over the summer we worked to ensure that meeting those needs would naturally happen throughout the school day for students. It is very rare for a school in this time of education to have the same administrator for 9 years. This demonstrates his knowledge, as well as his passion and dedication to our field and the environment he is working in. Sunil is a man of high integrity. He is not afraid to be challenged, when I was hired, he made it clear to me that if I do not challenge him and make him a better person/administrator, then I should not take the job. In our environment, students and staff are challenged each and every day to be better versions of themselves than they were the day before. This is true in our MAP data, our scores reflect growth above national norms after the three years students spend with us. The expectations are high in all regards from behavior to academics. I highly recommend Sunil for this honor and award. His educational career and accomplishments speak volumes to the leader that he is. He is very deserving of the LifeChanger award.

Susan Anderson Posted over a year ago

"Fisher of men," best describes Dr. Sunil Mody. Our school serves a community that is 95% Hispanic bringing with it special ethnic needs. Dr. Mody's love of children and family invites the community to participate in the empowerment of our future through education. As adults we never know what has become of the children that we have known, how are they doing or even if they have reached they're goals. Dr. Mody you make a difference in all of our lives daily and it is demonstrated frequently when we have students return after graduating college or getting that job you encouraged them to go after because you told them you believe they could achieve they're dreams. The impact that you have on young lives is greater than the mind can imagine. Each school year I have observed you mentoring a variety of students meeting them on they're level. I look at some of the students and see love and adoration in they're faces when you speak to them respectfully, when you sit at the lunch table and eat with them or play ball with a small group. As a spectator observing you take time out of your very busy day, making a student feel respected and welcome when approaching you makes for a Life Altering event in my life. Thank you for making me strive to be a better person everyday. You are tireless in your efforts to reach out to the community. This year alone I think you topped personal best with "Dinner with the Principal", "Mocktails with Mody", the icecream social. movie nights, "RISE" conference, not to mention all the late nights with games and concerts. You are the best!! So, on behalf of all former students I thank you Dr. Mody for allowing each of the us to privilege to be in your dream. I believe the world is better because you put in the work to transform the Northlake Middle School community. Thank you for making a difference in my future and for the future of so many children. Keep throwing out those life lines you are transforming a community one family at a time.

Sonia Falco Posted over a year ago

Dr. Mody is a wonderful principal. The environment he helps create for the staff and students is amazing. His school feels like home, and the love and care that he has for this home radiates. Students always come first to Dr. Mody, he's tough, he's direct, he's interested in student's lives and education, he is caring and has a great sarcastic sense of humor! Dr. Sunil Mody is so deserving of the Life Changer of the Year award. Sincerely, Sonia Falco

Courtney LaShure Posted over a year ago

Congratulations, Dr.Mody!! This is well deserved!!! Dr. Mody is special in that he inspires so many! He takes the time to share his personal journey of Perseverance with all his students and staff members! He is by far the most hands on principal you can find. Dr Mody spends his lunch time sitting with kids, talking with them, and getting to know all the students in his school. I’ve even seen students have lunch in his office as he allows kids to sit in his desk chair!! There truly isn’t a better leader!!

Photini Sikaras Posted over a year ago

December, 2019 Dear Selection Committee: It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for Dr. Sunil Mody for Life Changer of the Year. Dr. Mody has served as an educator for 20 years, in the roles of teacher, English Department Chair, and for the last 10 years, as principal of Northlake Middle School. I have had the honor of working with him for 10 years as my principal and getting to know him professionally, personally, and as a confidant. Dr. Mody is an example of an exemplary man, truly living the American dream. He began his journey as a young boy from India to the United States, and he has evolved into an ethical, honorable man, who passionately serves his community, by his example and actions. His experiences of learning English as a second language, overcoming many obstacles, and guiding his parents, have provided him with the drive to serve children in a highly diverse community, help them persevere, and transform their lives. Dr. Mody’s goal to help students thrive, communities prosper, and teachers grow, can be seen in his daily actions. He has helped create a safe, welcoming, and nurturing climate in our school, by building trusting and meaningful relationships with students, families, and staff. He ensures only the highest quality education is provided to our students and also ensures the whole child is addressed, by making social emotional learning (SEL) a priority in our school, ensuring all staff receives professional development on trauma-informed practices and the Illinois SEL standards. As a result, SEL and vital prevention and intervention skills are taught daily to all students, not only to those in need of responsive services. Northlake Middle School is a family. Due to Dr. Mody’s leadership and example, the environment is safe, welcoming, and warm. This is evident in the trusting relationships Dr. Mody builds with our students, staff, and families, and in the social-emotional programs he ensures are implemented in our school, to ensure our students feel a sense of belonging. Dr. Mody ensured the implementation of the Signs of Suicide program by Elyssa’s Mission, which provided vital suicide prevention and education for 500 students and saved lives. Dr. Mody collaborates with students, teachers, and families, to build relationships and create a safe and welcoming learning environment that fosters deep respect, trust, kindness, and a love of learning. He creates many parent engagement events, such as Dinner with the Principal and our Northlake family, incorporating cultural folk dance and ethnic food, and Coffee/Tea with the Principal. He also conducts SEL Nights, led by the SEL team, which include the support of our community resource providers. Dr. Mody ensures our families have all the mental health resources and support they need and also informs our families of the mental health support provided at our school to meet our students’ needs, while being receptive to their feedback. Dr. Mody’s passion, vision, and leadership inspire our students, staff, and families to develop social-emotionally, achieve academic success, and strive for excellence. Sunil’s student centered vision and dedication to help students succeed is evident in all his actions. Dr. Mody always sets high expectations and challenges all students and staff to reach their maximum potential. He provides the support, resources, and commitment necessary to empower students and help them succeed. Through Dr. Mody’s leadership, our students have outperformed the national norms consistently, and our school has moved from underperforming to commendable in our district report card. Furthermore, 30 percent of our eighth grade students feeding into district 209, are accepted into the district’s magnet school, Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA). His clearly defined high standards of conduct for our students have resulted in the lowest discipline in the last ten years. Dr. Mody’s passion for excellence and higher education has led to the creation of the first annual RISE! Conference in 2017. The RISE! Conference empowered our Latino middle school students and their parents to pursue their hopes and dreams through higher education. He ensured his vision became a reality by forming a committee and working with the counselor to collaborate with community leaders, activists, local high schools, colleges/universities, and motivational speakers to help inform, transform and inspire our students and parents accomplish their goals. Dr. Mody cares deeply about the school and the students. His interactions with students demonstrate genuine warmth, trust, and respect. He understands the power relationships have in transforming lives and makes every effort to be a trusted adult for our students. He also ensures all students have a trusted adult they can turn to. He is always visible at school, all events, and leads by example, whether it be by high fiving students in the hallway, playing soccer with them outside, or making positive phone calls home. Dr. Mody demonstrates that the Principal’s office is a welcoming place for all students, by eating lunch with our students on a regular basis and bringing students in for positive affirmations. Dr. Mody has also created a boys’ mentor group, providing much needed guidance, support, and mentorship to at-risk youth, by meeting weekly, providing a safe place, developing trusting relationships, playing basketball, and being that needed role-model. He has created the “Adopt a Student” program, where each adult “adopts” a student. In 2018, our adopted students achieved the highest academic growth of all our students. Furthermore, Dr. Mody created the “You Inspire Me Challenge”, where each adult created a video to tell a student why they are their reason come to school every day. The passion Dr. Mody has for his students, families, and staff is unparalleled. His passion for excellence shines in the face of every single student. Sunil believes every student has the capacity to thrive and commits to making that belief a reality. When students and their families speak of Dr. Mody, they do so with admiration and trust. He is the positive force in the success and transformation of our students at Northlake Middle School. For these reasons, I can think of no other person better qualified to receive the award of Life Changer of the Year than Dr. Sunil Mody. Sincerely, Photini Sikaras Lead School Counselor Northlake Middle School