The large table in the School District 117 Board room is full once again. One man was introduced as a short term board member yesterday evening, both of the people that will be new members of the Board in April were in attendance, and Superintendent Steve Ptacek got a new contract.
With his new contract, Ptacek earns a 3% raise, according to Board President Noel Beard. In addition, the old superintendent contract would have expired next year. Now, the new superintendent contract makes the 2019-2020 school year the new first year, and Ptacek will remain in Jacksonville through at least July of 2024.
Craig Albers was named as the temporary replacement for Cori Wagner, who resigned from the board earlier this year. Albers mentions his previous time spent on the District 117 Board, and why he was called to serve the Jacksonville community one more time.
“I’ve been in Jacksonville since 1992 or so. I served on the Board for eight years, and four years ago I left the Board. When I was asked about coming back, it was mainly the idea that they wanted someone who is already up to speed on a lot of the issues, who could help go through some stuff but wasn’t going to bring an agenda or be running for the seat in April.”
In terms of the four open seats for the April consolidated election, exactly four people applied. Steve Cantrell and Mike Lonergan will remain on the board, and the newcomers are Robert McBride and Heather Leonard.
Bob McBride explains that he is no stranger to Jacksonville School District 117.
“I’ve spent 30-plus years in District 117, so I know what’s going on in the district educationally. After I retired from the district, I spent some time at Illinois College as an adjunct teacher. I also supervise student teachers, and I’m the retired executive director of the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. I’ve been a professional educator for quite a few years, and my hope is to use that experience and continue serving the community and offering the students a good educational program.”
Heather Leonard offers her connection to the Jacksonville community and to the district, as well as her hopes in being a board member.
“I have one child at JHS, one at JMS, three at Eisenhower and one in the Pre-K program. I’m a registered nurse in Pediatrics at Passavant Hospital. When I heard that the seats were open, I saw an opportunity to serve the community. I’ve had a great experience in this school district and thought it would be nice to put myself out there and be a part of the conversations that are taking place in the district, for the students, the parents, and the community as a whole.”
The consolidated election will be held on April 2nd. The next school Board meeting will be on January 16th.