Our Mission Statement:
Encourage Excellence Every Day with Compassion, Commitment and Community
We believe that the attraction, motivation, and retention of quality staff at all levels fosters a positive culture.
We believe that a diverse and well-balanced curriculum gives students the opportunity to reach their greatest potential through active and engaging experiences.
We believe that a healthy, safe, fun, and accessible environment (physically, emotionally, socially) is essential to learning.
We believe education is a partnership among the community, parents, students and school personnel through collaboration and communication.
We believe that extracurricular opportunities develop the whole child.
We believe in the value of a “Students First” philosophy that instills a passion for learning.
Central School District 51 is located in the city of Washington, IL. The District includes Central Primary School for grades PK - 4th grade and Central Intermediate School for grades 5th - 8th. Total student enrollment for the district as of August 2021 is 1,351.
District Office Administration
Mr. Dale Heidbreder, Superintendent
Mr. Heidbreder received his Bachelor of Science in History and Secondary Education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He completed a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Educational Specialist endorsement from Illinois State University.
Mr. Heidbreder has been with Central School District 51 since July 1, 2015. Prior to Central, he was an assistant superintendent with Carterville CUSD #5 from 2010-2015. He served as principal at Lexington CUSD #7 from 2004-2010 and assistant principal at Colene Hoose Elementary School, McLean County USD #5 from 2001-2004. Mr. Heidbreder taught 7th grade social studies and language arts at Chiddix Jr. High, McLean County USD #5 from 1996-2001.
Mr. Heidbreder is married to his Mt. Pulaski High School sweetheart, Christa. She is currently a special education teacher at Washington Community High School. They have three children. Colton is currently attending Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing. Spencer is a Freshman at Lake Forest College and their youngest, Emma, is a Junior at WCHS. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and dogs Lollie and Jessie, hiking, fishing, camping and anything else outdoors. They love traveling as a family and spending time at beach. He is an avid Chicago Cubs, Bears and Bulls fan.
Education Philosophy: All students can learn at high levels. As educators, it is our job to make it happen no matter what the challenges or obstacles there are.
Mr. Trent Halpin, Director of Curriculum & Instruction
Mr. Halpin has been with Central School District 51 since July 2017. Since that time he is proud of the numerous additions for students. Being a visionary leader is important in order to make sure we are meeting student’s needs and providing them with the tools to be successful citizens. Mr. Halpin’s educational background includes:
Elementary Education degree from MacMurray College
Masters degree from Aurora University
National Board Professional Teaching Standards Early Childhood Generalist
Elementary Principal at Lincoln Prairie Elementary (6 years)
General Education teacher Grades 2,3 and 4 (16 years)
Mr. Halpin grew up in Pittsfield, Illinois and after spending 22 years in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, moved to the area in 2017 to be closer to provide care for his aging parents. Since then he has spent time restoring his 100 year old home which is also the childhood home of singer Dan Fogelberg.
Outside of school, Mr. Halpin enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends along with updating landscaping.
Education Philosophy: Give teachers the tools they need to be successful and get out of the way. Education is too important to be done alone.
Mr. Chris King, Director of Special Education
Mr. King received his Bachelor of Science in Special Education at Illinois State University. He completed a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Illinois State University and the Director of Special Education endorsement from the University of St. Francis.
Mr. King has served in teaching and administrative positions in Illinois and Alaska. His first special education teaching and administrative positions began in Fairbanks, Alaska in 2000 and 2015. He taught high school special education in 2006-2007 at Forreston High School before moving to Normal, Illinois where he taught high school special education at Normal West High School from 2007 to 2014. Prior to coming to Central, Mr. King served as a program supervisor for five different school districts under the Livingston County Special Services Unit cooperative.
Mr. King has been married to his wife of 31 years, Melissa. She is a school counselor at Lexington Jr./Sr. High School. They have two children, Regan and Payton. Regan is a graduate of Illinois State University and lives in Denver. Payton attends Eureka High School. The Kings love doing anything outdoors as a family.
Education Philosophy: When given the right amount of support, I believe that all students can learn and develop skills that will lead them to be successful later in life.
Central Primary School
1400 Newcastle Rd.
Washington, IL 61571
Ms. Amanda Venegonia , Principal, CPS
Ms. Venegonia attended Washington High School and graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with her bachelors in Music Education in 2000. Ms. Venegonia received her master’s degree in Educational Administration in 2007 and she is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Policy and Organizational Leadership at U of I.
Ms. Venegonia has been in the Chicago suburbs for the last 23 years and is looking forward to living near family again. She taught elementary music for 7 years in Addison, was a middle school assistant principal in East Aurora for 4 years, and served as an elementary school principal for 12 years in Bedford Park.
Ms. Venegonia accepted the principal position at Central Primary School in 2023. Outside of school, Ms. Venegonia has many family and friends in the area and enjoys traveling, reading, singing, and spending time with loved ones.
Educational Philosophy: Relationships are the key to success. Safe, reliable, trusting relationships with students, families, and teachers are the only way that meaningful change can take place within the educational system.
Mrs. Amanda Rogers, Assistant Principal, CPS
Mrs. Rogers attended Olivet Nazarene University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Additionally, she attended Illinois State University where she received a master's degree in Educational Leadership.
Mrs. Rogers accepted the assistant principal position at Central Primary School in 2023. Prior to Central, she worked for the Peoria Heights School District for ten years as a second grade teacher and student success coordinator. These years were very formative in her growth as an educator, as it provided a solid foundation of leadership in the areas of curriculum and family engagement.
Mrs. Rogers lives in Washington with her husband, Mike. They have two children, Lucas and Amelia, who are also students at CPS.
Mrs. Rogers enjoys spending time with her family and attending and coaching her children’s sporting events. She is excited to work with CPS faculty and families to encourage excellence every day by helping to provide a safe learning environment and strong instruction for all.
Education Philosophy: I believe in the power of collaboration among teachers, parents, and the wider community to support the holistic development of our students. By working together, we can create a strong partnership that ensures the success of each child.
Central Intermediate School
1301 Eagle Ave.
Washington, IL 61571
Mrs. Ericka Bush, Principal, CIS
Mrs. Bush attended Western Illinois University where she received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English Education. She attended Bradley University where she received a master's degree in Educational Leadership.
Mrs. Bush's educational experiences include: Argenta-Oreana Middle School - 7th Grade English Language Arts, Mossville Elementary School - 8th Grade English Language Arts, Trewyn K-8 - 8th Grade English Language Arts, Illini Bluffs Middle School - 6th Grade English Language Arts, and Dunlap Valley Middle School - 8th Grade English Language Arts. Mrs. Bush served as assistant principal at Central Primary School and Central Intermediate School before becoming principal at CIS.
Mrs. Bush lives in Morton with her husband, Josh, and two daughters, Madyn and Blair. Madyn is in 4th grade this year, and Blair just started Kindergarten. Outside of school, Mrs. Bush loves spending time with family and friends. Mrs. Bush’s daughters are involved in dance, piano, and gymnastics, and thost activities keep her family busy!
Education Philosophy: All students can learn, and learning takes place at different times and in different ways for all students. Students are capable even if their progression of learning looks different than someone else’s.
Social Emotional Health is a priority for students. Through building relationships with peers and adults, it is important for students to feel a sense of belonging. Students should feel safe, valued, and respected at school.
Ms. Kimberly Martin, Assistant Principal, CIS
Ms. Martin graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2008. In 2009, she pursued a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education and graduated in 2011. In 2018, she continued her studies in education through American College of Education to obtain her Educational Leadership master's degree.
Ms. Martin accepted the assistant principal position at Central Intermediate School in 2021. Prior to Central, she worked at Illini Bluffs Middle School for thirteen years as a mathematics and technology teacher. During that time, she also coached cross country, volleyball, and track and field. She also served on multiple committees throughout the district to progress instruction and technology.
In Ms. Martin’s free time, she enjoys traveling, photography, and being around friends and family.
Education Philosophy: The greatest successes come from failure. Never let failure hold you back and always learn from your mistakes and missteps.