When it comes to ways to spend a wedding anniversary, attending a school board meeting probably ranks among the justifiable reasons for a spouse to file for divorce.
But cut Jeffrey Gerard some slack. Wedding anniversaries are a yearly affair. Being named a principal for the first time is a bit rarer.
The board unanimously approved the hiring of Gerard as the new principal at at its meeting Wednesday, July 11.
"It's a sense of relief," Gerard said about going through a closed session interview with board members before they voted on his hiring. "There was really good timing, though. It's nice to share this special moment with my wife as I go forward into this new endeavor."
Becoming Arbury Hills' new principal is a return of sorts for Gerard, who started his educational career as a first-grade teacher in . After three years there, he moved on to teaching first, second and fifth grade in in Naperville. For the past two years, Gerard has been an assistant principal in , split between two schools, Craughwell and Heritage Trail.
The Arbury Hills post is a promotion, but career advancement wasn't the only reason Gerard was drawn to the Summit Hill district.
"I was just very excited about the collaborative nature of Summit Hill and the warmness of the community and staff at Arbury Hills," he said, adding that among the first things he'll do when starting his job next week is to meet informally with the staff and community.
But that's for next week. With the meeting over, Gerard and his wife, Jennifer, still had a wedding anniversary to celebrate. Their plans for the rest of the evening?
"Go out to eat," Gerard said.
"Just don't take her out to White Castle," a board member advised.
Here's some more information about Gerard:
Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Northern Illinois University.
Experience: A classroom teacher for 11 years, he spent the first three of them teaching first grade in Frankfort School District 157-C. After that, he taught first, second and fifth grade in Indian Prairie School District 204 before moving on to an assistant principal position at Troy CCSD 30-C.
Hudziak Moves to Rogus as Assistant Principal
Gerard's appointment leaves the district with only an assistant principal position at to fill. That spot opened up in the past month after Christine Hudziak, who held the position previously, was transferred to , where she'll serve in the same capacity.
"I'm excited to be going to the elementary school. It's nice to be back at that level," said Hudziak, who had been a kindergarten through sixth-grade and kindergarten through fourth grade assistant principal before coming to the Summit Hill district. She's going into her fifth year at D161, spending three years at and a year at Summit Hill Junior High.
Originally, former Principal Christine Carey was to be co-principal at Rogus with former Principal Kathy Klein. However, Carey announced her retirement last month, and the district turned the co-principal position into an assistant principalship. Hudziak asked for the transfer when she saw the opening posted.
Board Approves Rehiring Dismissed Teachers
Four district teachers who were honorably dismissed in March were hired back by the board Wednesday. The teachers were among the 22 who were let go as part of an overall staff reduction in the district.
The following are the teachers hired back, and the schools they will be teaching at:
- Joseph Cardinal, Dr. Julian Rogus School
- Lauren Clough, Rogus
- Kyle Fisher, Rogus
- Sandra Schlesselman, Summit Hill Junior High School
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