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Dist. 1 shuffles administrators for next school year

With Perucca’s departure, Rakes will serve dual roles in district

COAL CITY —The Coal City Unit School Dist. 1 board Wednesday announced that it has restructured its administrative team heading into the fall.

Middle School Principal Frank Perucca has resigned to take a position as assistant regional superintendent of schools for Will County.

Current elementary school principal Travis Johnson will become middle school principal, Early Childhood Center Principal Chris Spencer will move up to the elementary school, and Director of Special Populations Sandy Rakes will become the principal of the Early Childhood Center.

Rakes will work “double duty,” retaining her current role in addition to the principal position.

The district plans to hire a part-time assistant administrator for the Early Childhood Center, who will assist Rakes in the day-to-day management of the building, as well as district-wide special populations initiatives.

This restructuring will save the district $50,000 in salary costs, according to board documents.

“Anytime we have an opening, [the board] always looks for ways we can restructure to become more efficient, while still providing quality education,” Superintendenet Kent Bugg said.

“This way seemed like it put the skills of our administrators to use the best.”

What ultimately convinced the board, he said, was Rakes volunteering for the role.

“That tipped the scales,” Bugg said. “If she hadn’t taken that position, we would have had to hire a full-time principal.”

Instead, they will save $50,000 by hiring the half-time assistant.

Bugg expects the restructuring to go smoothly because of the quality of the administrators.

He called Spencer and Johnson “dynamic leaders” with strong experience, and said Rakes is a “proven leader” who has already helped in the decision-making process for the building.

Rakes said she looks forward to her new role, saying she feels prepared to take on the position.

“I am very excited,” Rakes said. “I’ve been in this building for three years, I’ve worked with the staff. It’s going to be a very smooth transition, I think.”

Rakes, who had been a principal with the Southern Will County Cooperative for Special Education, said she will draw on past experience and does not expect any problems to arise from holding two roles.

“I think that I bring good experience to the position,” Rakes said. “[I have] no concerns.”

At the meeting, Board Vice President Shawn Hamilton expressed confidence in the administrators.

“We have great leadership in all our buildings,” Hamilton said.

“It’s an exciting time in the district.”

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