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School District 157-C Hires New Director of Special Services

The board selected Jennifer Bajda from a field of 60 candidates, narrowed to three finalists.

At the Frankfort School District 157-C Board of Education meeting held on April 14, the Board retained Jennifer L. Bajda as its new Director of Special Services effective July 1. After careful consideration of over 60 applicants and six finalists screened by a team of district administrators including the incoming superintendent, the final three candidates were interviewed by a committee comprised of parents and staff members. Bajda was determined to be the very best candidate for the job. 

The new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Maura J. Zinni, stated, “Jennifer comes to us highly recommended for putting students first and being passionate about her career in Special Education. I look forward to working with her and the entire administrative team.  We are excited to begin working together to plan for an excellent 2014-2015 school year.”

Bajda earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Purdue University Calumet, an Education Specialist degree from Valparaiso University, a Master of Education degree from Valparaiso University and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Purdue University.  She also holds a Director of Special Education endorsement and General Administrative K-12, School Psychologist and Learning Behavior Specialist 1 certifications.

Since 2007, Bajda has been employed as a School Psychologist/Local Education Agency (LEA) representative at Crete-Monee School District.  There, she directs the implementation of full and individualized evaluations for students including identification, referral, diagnosis and placement. She provides leadership, coordination, development and evaluation of special services programs and related services, ensuring that Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) and 504 Plans are implemented with fidelity across all settings. At Crete-Monee Middle School she worked with the building principal to implement a program to improve reading scores that has a proven track record of increasing student achievement over the past five years.

Prior to serving as a School Psychologist, she was a Special Education teacher in the same district, working directly with special needs students every day. In that role, she implemented IEP’s, created lesson plans for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, was the Response to Intervention (RTI) Coordinator and facilitated the data management of AIMSweb benchmark assessment and program monitoring.  She also administered preschool screenings and diagnostics to identify children with disabilities in need of services.

“Jennifer’s background demonstrates good communication, collaboration and the ability to make data-driven decisions," Dr. Zinni said. "These characteristics are attributes of an excellent administrator. We believe that her years as a Special Education teacher working one-on-one with students with special needs, along with her education and leadership experience, will be strong assets to our district.  We feel that her history of working closely with special education and school district staff, parents and students is a good indication that she will develop a strong connection with our own district families and staff. We hope the community will join us in welcoming Bajda.  We are confident that she will make a great addition to our team.”

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