Congratulations to these alumni who are making a positive impact on the leadership and administration of education at all levels!
Andrew Allen, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’04, M.S.Ed. Instructional Technology, ’00, was named executive director of Information Systems in the East Aurora School District. Allen comes to East Aurora from Community Unit School District 2, where he served as director of technology and library media services since 2010. Previously, Allen spent 11 years with Indian Prairie School District 204 as library media director and technology teacher.
Kevin Baldus, M.S.Ed. Special Education, ’05, has been named interim Special Education director at Riverside-Brookfield High School, where he is also an instructional coach. Baldus began his career as a teacher at Krejci Academy, a therapeutic day school in Naperville, and also taught in a special needs program in DuPage High School District 88. Before coming to RBHS, he was a special education teacher at West Chicago High School.
Andrea Gaitán-Bustos, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’15, is the new principal of Sunnydale Elementary School in Streamwood. She most recently served for the last three years as the assistant principal at Coleman Elementary in Elgin. Gaitán-Bustos joined U-46 in 2008, working as a fourth-grade bilingual teacher at Laurel Hill Elementary in Hanover Park and later as a classroom teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Hoffman Estates and Hilltop Elementary in Elgin. She also served on the School Improvement Planning teams at all three schools, and has worked as a bilingual instructional coach.
Jason H. Gold, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’05, is the new principal of Fox Meadow Elementary School in South Elgin. Gold, who has worked in education for 14 years as a teacher and administrator, had served since 2016 as principal of Komarek Elementary School in District 94. He previously was coordinator of ELA and Math Initiatives & Teacher/Principal Retention and Development in Lyons School District 103 and as an assistant principal and Gifted and Talented coordinator in Oak Park School District 97. Gold began his education career as a math teacher Cary School District 26.
Chris Grode, Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’03, was named superintendent of Columbia Community Unit School District No. 4. Grode most recently served as superintendent Murphysboro CUSD 186, assistant superintendent and chief financial officer of Canton Unit School District 66. In 2018, Grode received the Superintendent of Distinction by colleagues in the Egyptian Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
Lauren Hartelius, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’07, was named Behavioral Support Systems coordinator in Downers Grove Elementary District 58. Hartelius directly supports students, staff and families who participate in the district’s Behavioral Emotional and Social Training program, working systemwide to strengthen behavioral support systems for all students. She previously provided guidance and direction to specialized programs as the educational coordinator in Morton District 201, taught students with emotional disabilities in the Kendall County Special Education Cooperative and was the lead teacher of South Berwyn District 100’s ED program.
Kurt Johansen, M.S.Ed. Adult and Continuing Education, ’03, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’01, is the new principal of South Elgin High School. Johansen most recently was assistant principal at Glenbard East High School, a role he began there in 2013 after serving as dean of students since 2009. Johansen began his career in 2003 as a special education teacher at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park.
Peter Meismer, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’12, was named assistant principal of Hunt Club Elementary School in Oswego School District 308. Meismer, who in October 2019 became Special Education Program administrator at Oswego High School and also served as the school’s Extended School Year site coordinator, previously taught math, reading and writing at The Wheatlands Elementary School in Aurora as an elementary resource teacher.
Jonathan Miquelon, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’17, has been named principal of U-46’s Clinton Elementary School in South Elgin. Miquelon, a graduate of Elgin Larkin High School, previously served as assistant principal of Tefft Middle School in Streamwood, where he designed the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) approach. He joined U-46 in 2005, initially working as a substitute teacher and teacher’s assistant at South Elgin High School before becoming a a social studies teacher at Elgin High School.
Jennifer Pacheco, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’05, is the new director of Special Services in East Maine School District 63. Pacheco, who previously served as principal of Emma Melzer School, began her career as a special education resource teacher at West Aurora School District 129 and later joined District 63’s Apollo School in a similar position. She also worked as a professional development and academic achievement coach, ultimately serving as a district special education facilitator for two years. Prior to returning to District 63, she was associate principal at Stevenson Middle School in Maywood/Melrose Park/Broadview School District 89’s Stevenson Middle School.
Natalie Page, Ed.D. Higher Education-Community College Leadership, is the new vice president of Academic Affairs at Danville Area Community College. Page most recently served as dean of Academic Services at South Suburban College in South Holland, where she also was a tenured faculty member in Communications. She previously served on the faculty at Lewis University in Romeoville and Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Her dissertation focused on improving the success rate of students from underrepresented groups.
Nicole Poynton, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’05, was hired as assistant principal of Old Post Elementary School in Oswego School District 308. Poynton previously worked for Plainfield School District 202 as a Transitional Bilingual Education/Transitional Program of Instruction teacher, as well as an administrator for the English Learners remote learning summer school program. Before joining District 202, she worked as a bilingual second-grade teacher in Cicero School District 99.
Melissa Sago, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’04, is the new principal of Lincoln-Douglas Elementary School in Freeport School District 145. Sago previously served the last two years as assistant principal at Freeport Middle School. She also taught at the elementary level in Freeport, and has teaching and administrative experience from Rockford School District 205.
LeeAnn Taylor, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’08, is the new assistant superintendent of Finance and Business Operations in Vernon Hills-based Hawthorn School District 73. Taylor previously served for four years as director of Fiscal Services and Asset Management at Barrington Area Unit School District 220, where she also worked as director of Media Services. Prior to her work in Barrington, she chaired the Career and Technical Education Department at Grayslake High School District 127 and taught business at District 127, New Trier Township High School District 203, Mundelein High School District 120 and McHenry Elementary School District 15.
Jay Wachtel, M.S.Ed. School Business Management, ’03, was named interim principal of Naperville North High School. Wachtel has worked at Naperville North since 2002 in several positions, including business teacher, instructional coordinator for Career and Technical Education and assistant principal of Operations. He began his career as a business teacher in high schools in Colorado and Illinois.