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Morris District 54 to hire new dean

MORRIS – Morris Elementary School District 54 is looking to add a dean and athletic director, as one position, to its district staff.

The District 54 board approved the creation of a new dean and athletic director position Monday in a 5-0 vote with members Dave Obrochta and Jerry White absent.

Superintendent Teri Shaw said Tuesday that studies showed a need for improvement in discipline within the district, so the board felt creating a dean position would address the issue.

"Teachers and kids let us know there was a need and the board addressed it," Shaw said.

The district has received information from its climate and culture surveys, as well as student needs survey, which Shaw said always shows a low score on discipline.

"Kids still say bullying is an issue," Shaw said.

She said they currently have an extremely good administrative staff and she's happy with the new model of having one principal for both schools and an associate principal at both White Oak Elementary School and Shabbona Middle School.

"We don't want to go back to two principals," Shaw said.

She said in order for the principal to be able to focus on curriculum and other administrative duties, they needed a new position to address discipline.

The board is creating a job description for the position of dean and will be adding the title of athletic director to the position and remove it from the associate principal job description.

"The associate principal at Shabbona needs more time to be an instrumental leader," Shaw said.

The position was posted on Tuesday with a salary of $49,995, and they are working on finalizing the job description. They are hoping to fill the position by the July board meeting.

The board also voted, 5-0, to approve contracts for the positions of director of special populations, principal, and White Oak associate principal.

Melissa Lohse will continue as the director of special populations with a salary of $74,618.61, with an additional stipend of $13,350 to compensate for the additional duties required of the position for the 2014-15 school year. She received a more than $8,000 raise to bring up her salary to coincide with others in this position in area, Shaw said.

Christopher Maier will continue as district principal with a salary of $85,298.99, with an additional stipend of $17,000 to compensate for additional duties required of him as the principal of two schools. He received a 3.25 percent raise

Christopher Popidinski will continue as White Oak associate principal and also received a 3.25 percent raise. His salary is $67,731.63 with an extra duty stipend of $5,000 to compensate for the additional duties he takes on that would typically be the school's principal's responsibility if each school had its own principal.

The stipends were instituted last year when the district switched to one principal and two assistants to compensate them for the extra work load.

Shaw said the district will perform this way for one more year and will re-evaluate this next year.

Shabbona Associate Principal Scott Stehlik was just hired in May and will begin in July. 

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