Current Assistant District 117 Superintendent takes collegiate job, plus a NEW PRINCIPAL AT JHS

By Anthony Engle on June 21 at 9:34am

Jacksonville school district 117 held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting last night. As the first full Board and committee of the whole meetings of the summer, a few additional changes to the Board and district staff were announced.

The district will say goodbye to a pair of valued administrators, as they have accepted new educational responsibilities from two separate schools here in the state of Illinois.

Dr. Dana Kinley, the current Assistant Superintendent of Jacksonville School District 117, will move to Normal, Illinois to join the Illinois State University staff as both Superintendent of the ISU Laboratory School and Assistant Dean of the College of Education. Dr. Kinley describes how the immersive nature of the laboratory school combined with the bureaucratic role as assistant dean of the college of education is a viable job for one person.

“I’ll be superintendent of the laboratory schools which is Pre-K through 12th grade, and then as Assistant Dean of the College of Education, it will be my job to facilitate a healthy relationship between the university and the laboratory schools. My responsibilities will include merging the empirical research and preparation of pre-service teachers and administrators at the laboratory school.”

As district 117’s current Director of Special Education Services, Mekelle Neathery speaks in regards to her path in education and what she has learned in a decade with the district in various roles.

“I was previously assistant principal here at Jacksonville High School before my position as director, and I also served as a principal in the Bluffs School district, Pre-K through 12, before coming to district 117. It’s given me a perspective of a larger school district in our area. It’s also allowed me to work with various families, especially as I’ve taken different roles within the department. I’ve been able to work with some great specialists and teams to insure that we’re fulfilling the needs of our students and enhancing our instructional programming.”

Neathery does represent the other administrative loss for the district. Neathery has accepted a position for the fall at Virginia Elementary School in Virginia as their new principal.

In light of these two administrative changes, a familiar face will receive a new title and set of duties, and a new face has been assigned her third hiring and second upgrade in responsibility without having worked a single day or earned a single penny from the district.

Now-former Jacksonville High School Principal Mike McGiles has become the district’s Director of Operations, and Andrea Lee will officially serve the area as the principal of JHS. Lee was originally hired as North Elementary principal before being named for South Elementary as successor of Kelly Zoellner, who is now the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. District Superintendent Steve Ptacek details this extended transfer of personnel.

“It’s time for me to be a lot more involved with the day to day operations. What I really need to be able to handle the central office and a district of this size is someone who is working on operations such as our FOIA office or our Hazardous Bus Route Transportation issue we’re working on, or building usage fees. Mike McGiles is a phenomenal logistical planner. He get things done in an extremely efficient manner, and he is the person we need in that role at this moment. That position opens up at the high school, and we have Andrea Lee, who we initially interviewed for the North Elementary principal position, she has 13 years of experience, very well respected. She’s a good principal. We’ve got this very important and critical position in the district open up, and she’s the best person to serve as JHS principal.”

Questions still remain in terms of who will serve as South Elementary Principal, as well as Assistant Superintendent of the District and Director of Special Education Services.

The district would also like to remind the local and district 117 communities that Ken Bradbury and Rich McCoy’s play “Hotrods, Ghosts, and Hatchetheads” is the conclusion of the district’s 150-year anniversary and runs Friday and Saturday night with a Sunday matinee.