Office of Special Education
1050 S. Fourth Ave.
Morton, Illinois 61550
Marcia Wallace– Special Education Secretary
Carol Williams – Clerical Aide
At Morton District 709, our goals for the Special Education Department are the same as for the entire school district. Specifically, it is the mission of the Special Education Department to:
- Ensure all students achieve their highest potential
- Meet individual student needs based on assessments for learning and provide research-based instruction and interventions
- Identify the specific needs of each student in order to determine teaching and learning priorities and the effectiveness of instructional methods
Additionally, we recognize the role of inclusion in helping all students develop, and we place students in general education classrooms as appropriate for each individual student.
Resources for Parents
The Special Education department of Morton District 709 takes great pride in providing support to about 400 students, ages 3-22. Each school is equipped with numerous special education teachers and a speech therapist. Our school district also provides occupational therapy, physical therapy, social workers, school psychologists, as well as other services. Morton District 709 cares deeply about each student and wants them to be successful.
Marcia Wallace– Special Education Secretary
Ms. Wallace is the special education secretary for District 709 and she supports the special education staff and director as they meet the goals of the department.
Carol Williams – Clerical Aide
Mrs. Williams is a part-time clerical aide for the special education department.
Sandi Cross – Social Worker, Jefferson, Morton Junior High
Mrs. Cross graduated from the University of Illinois in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and in 1987 with a master’s degree in social work. After spending several years working as a clinical social worker in Illinois and Pennsylvania, she discovered she wanted to have a direct impact on children in a school setting. In 2000, she became certified as a school social worker. Mrs. Cross began work in District 709 in 2002. She lives in Peoria with her husband and three children.
Peter Klinkner – Social Worker, Morton High School
Mr. Klinkner is the social worker for MHS and Jefferson Elementary. He graduated from Illinois State University with his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2008. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in social work at ISU, graduating in 2010. He earned his Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2013. He has worked as a school social worker in the Normal Unit 5 school district as well as El Paso Gridley school district. He is married to Annie Klinkner who stays at home with their daughter, Laila. Mr. Klinkner enjoys working in Morton because of the excellent staff, great kids, and wonderful parent support.
Lauren Oliger – Social Worker, Lincoln and Early Childhood
Ms. Oliger is a school social worker at Lincoln Elementary and is a member of the early childhood assessment team, as well as responsible for early childhood reporting data. She graduated from Millikin University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in human services and Spanish. She then earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois in May 2012. She came to District 709 in the fall of 2012. Ms. Oliger enjoys reading a good book, spending time with her family and cooking.
Leslie Willis – Social Worker, Grundy and Lettie Brown
Miss Willis started as a school social worker in District 709 in the fall of 2012. She strives for open communication with students, families and the staff. She enjoys assisting students as they succeed and looks forward to watching students grow into impactful adults. She grew up in Champaign, Illinois, and attended many football and basketball games with her friends and family. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work from Illinois State University. She lives in Bloomington-Normal and enjoys the commute everyday as a time to reflect. In her free time, Miss Willis likes to run, go antique shopping, and read. She is thankful to a part of the District 709 team. Go Potters!
Molly Suellentrop – Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Mrs. Suellentrop is the occupational therapy assistant serving Lettie Brown and Jefferson. She works under the supervision of Occupational Therapist Mary Zumwalt of the Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association. In 2013, she received her associates’ degree from Illinois Central College in Applied Science to begin her career in occupational therapy. Mrs. Suellentrop lives in Peoria with her husband and new son. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing soccer, and staying active. Mrs. Suellentrop is excited to be working with such a great community and school district.
Amanda Bunting - Occupational Therapy Assistant
Mrs. Bunting attended Illinois Central College and received her associate’s degree in applied science. She started working for Morton District 709 in 2007. Mrs. Bunting services Lincoln, Grundy and the junior high. She feels it is very rewarding when she is able to see how much progress a student makes over time. She lives in East Peoria with her husband and 2 children. Mrs. Bunting works under the supervision of Occupation Therapist Mary Zumwalt of the Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association.
Jill Lyons – Elementary RtI Coordinator
Mrs. Lyons serves the four Morton elementary buildings as the Elementary Response to Intervention Coordinator. She completed her undergraduate degree at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas and has taught at the elementary and middle school levels in both Missouri and Illinois. She holds a Master’s Degree in Reading from the University of Kansas and a Teacher Leader of Reading endorsement through the Illinois Center for Reading Recovery where she was trained as a District Literacy Coach Leader in 2009. Mrs. Lyons has also taught undergraduate courses in Literacy Education at Kansas State University and Eastern Illinois University. She served as a District Literacy Specialist for the Unit 5 School District for four years in Bloomington. She lives in Morton with her husband and two children.
Mrs. Kerber-Long - Psychologist
Mrs. Kerber-Long came to Morton district 709 in 2015. She serves the four elementary buildings as the school psychologist and is a member of the early childhood assessment team. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Truman State University. She also holds a specialist degree in School Psychology from Illinois State University. She has served students in early childhood through 12th grade as a school psychologist at Livingston County Special Services Unit and Tri-County Special Education Association. Mrs. Kerber-Long lives in Normal with her husband and son. She enjoys baking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Katie Zwolinski – Psychologist
Miss Zwolinski is originally from ArlingtonHeights. After graduating high school, she attended Eastern Illinois University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2009 with a major in psychology and a minor in family and consumer sciences. Her love of psychology drew her to the field of school psychology. She continued her education at Eastern Illinois University and earned her Specialist in School Psychology degree in 2012. Katie is also a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She lives in Bloomington and is thrilled to be working with the wonderful staff, students, and families in Morton.