Elementary board: Administrative transfers approved

At its Tuesday meeting, the Rochelle Elementary School District Board of Education approved several transfers of members of its administration team to new positions, including new principals at Central Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School.

New principals at Central, Lincoln Schools

ROCHELLE — At its Tuesday meeting, the Rochelle Elementary School District Board of Education approved several transfers of members of its administration team to new positions, including new principals at Central Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School. 

Mrs. Celeste Canfield, who served as the Central School principal for the past three years, will be moving into the district’s open ELL coordinator position. The full-time ELL coordinator position has been vacated for the past three school years. Canfield has served as a teacher and administrator in the district for eight years.

“I look forward to continuing to serve Rochelle students alongside Rochelle teachers in this new position,” Canfield said in a district press release.

Mr. Justin Adolph will be the new Central School principal. Adolph has been the principal at Lincoln School for the past three years. Prior to leadership at Lincoln School, Adolph served the district as the Central School principal for seven years. Next year, Adolph will start his 11th year as a district administrator. 

“I am excited to work with the faculty of Central School to serve our second and third grade students,” Adolph said in the press release. “I’m especially excited to continue working and building relationships with our incoming second grade students who were at Lincoln with me.”

Filling the principal position at Lincoln School will be Ms. Amy Hayden, who has worked for the past four years as the district’s HUB Program coordinator and Stepping Stones Preschool director. Prior to that, she worked as a teacher at Central School for nine years.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside the Lincoln staff as Stepping Stones Preschool director for the last few years and have experienced firsthand the great things the faculty and staff does to serve the students of Rochelle,” Hayden said. “I’m excited to join the team and continue their great work.”

Rochelle Middle School Assistant Principal Rick Dornink has decided to transition back to the classroom to finish his career. Dornink served as assistant principal at RMS for the past 16 school years. Dornink has had a “considerable impact” on students over the years and looks forward to connecting with future students in the classroom and through after school coaching opportunities, the release said.

Filling Dornink’s position will be Mrs. Katie Smith, who has been a middle school and late elementary teacher in Rochelle for the past 10 years.

“I look forward to continuing to work alongside our strong middle school team to help each of our students grow,” Smith said in the release.

HUB Program

The board unanimously approved Hub Program site coordinator contracts for Breynn Baiocco and Roxanna Conteras through Dec. 2022. Baiocco and Contreras were site coordinators in the past school year.

The district plans to fund the program on its own headed into this fall after it was fully-funded by a grant for the past 10 years. The board will likely not hear until October whether it will receive the Illinois State Board of Education Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant again.

The HUB Program is specifically targeted to support the district’s K-8 at-risk youth using a before and after-school model plus summer school. The district has received about $435,000 per year to run the program from the grant at no cost to it and the community. 

$10 million will be awarded statewide in the grant award process. When the district learns its fate, it will either use grant money to recoup its own money spent this fall and for the next three years of operation, or reassess the program’s future at its own expense and prepare to reapply when able.

“We don't know if we're going to be re-awarded the grant in this cycle,” Superintendent Jason Harper said. “The reality is, I just want to brace the board and our teachers, families and community for the possibility that we might not win this grant again. In the cohort we are competing in for the grant, there's $10 million of annual funding. Our program alone is over $500,000 per year. If they did 20 of those, that means 20 districts would get to run programs similar to us. We hope that we're selected and think we have a great track record and application.”

Non-certified staff

The board unanimously approved salary increases for non-certified staff for fiscal year 2023 at a 3.2 percent increase, which is commensurate with what teachers have received over the past fiscal year and will receive in the two fiscal years to come.

Some non-certified staff members' wages will have to be adjusted higher than 3.2 percent due to the state raising the minimum wage level. 

“And we know just in general, labor rates are going up,” Harper said. “As a side note, I ask that the board remain open to the option for the administrative staff to be able to come back to you should the landscape change. The starting rates at a lot of other local places are higher than ours, which was the case before the pandemic and inflation. We want to keep an eye on that and keep within a realistic competitive margin.”