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Principal position eliminated

Wilkinson out as Dist. 54 moves to realign job duties

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 9:30 a.m. CST

Anthony Wilkinson will be dismissed after the current school year for “budgetary reasons” after serving two years as principal of Shabbona Middle School. Morris Elementary School Dist. 54 is reducing the number of principal positions from four to three.

“The board of education wants to whole-heartedly thank Mr. Wilkinson for his two years in the district,” said Dist. 54 Superintendent Teri Shaw. “He’s been a very dedicated employee.”

“If we had the budget numbers we had a couple years ago,” Shaw added, “he would be back next year.”

Wilkinson’s position will not be filled. Instead, Shaw said, the district intends to redefine the roles of the remaining three principal positions and have them preside over both White Oak Elementary School and Shabbona Middle School.

Shaw said the district is currently researching other districts that use one principal for multiple campuses and that the changes will be implemented next year.

The two current principals and assistant principals will be part of the planning process.

“We know we aren’t doing anything other schools haven’t done,” Shaw said.

Wilkinson became principal of the middle school in 2011, following the resignation of Kim Payton. He was hired after spending two years as principal of Fairmount School in Lockport, where he had also spent two years as assistant principal.

According to Shaw, the Dist. 54 School Board notified Wilkinson of his non-renewal on March 1. The move is expected to save the district between $60,000 and $75,000 next year.

Wilkinson said he enjoyed his time at Shabbona, noting that he felt supported by the district parents and administrators.

“I appreciate having had the opportunity to have worked at Shabbona,” Wilkinson said. “I enjoyed working with the superintendent and the school board, and the parents have just been awesome.”

Added Wilkinson: “I wish the school and the district well.

“Unfortunately, because of budget issues this happened.”

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