Congratulations to these Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations alumni!
Dan Bertrand, Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’05, was named director of Park Operations for the Marengo Park District. Bertrand was superintendent of Marengo Community High School District 154 from 2005 until his retirement in 2016. He also is system director of the McHenry County Cooperative for Employment Education. Prior to his time in Marengo, Bertrand served as a high school principal in Kaneland High School from 1996 to 2005.
Seth Chapman, M.S.Ed. School Business Management, ’06, and Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’17, was named assistant superintendent for Finance and Operations in Glenbard Township High School District 87. The appointment is effective July 1. Chapman, who has served as assistant superintendent of Business Services and chief financial officer in St. Charles Unit District 303 since 2013, previously worked as director of Business Services and Facilities with Northern Suburban Special Education District in Highland Park and as business manager with A.E.R.O. Special Education Cooperative in Burbank.
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.
R.J. Gravel, M.S.Ed. Instructional Technology ’09; Ed.D. Instructional Technology ’14; M.S.Ed. School Business Management ’16; Ed.S. Educational Administration ’19; was promoted Jan. 26 to associate superintendent to of Glenbrook High Schools District 225, where he has been serving as assistant superintendent for Business Services.
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.
Amanda Howland, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’86, has been elected to a three-year term as director-at-large of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). ACCT is the largest organization of community college trustees in the nation, representing more than 6,500 leaders at more than 1,2000 institutions. Howland has served for 11 years as a trustee of the College of Lake County and is currently vice chair of the board.
Mark Langer, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’11, was named principal of William Fremd High School in Palatine High School District 211. The appointment is effective July 1. Langer, who is currently the assistant principal at James B. Conant High School, began his career in 2003 as a science teacher at Palatine High School. He later was named the school’s dean of students for the 2011-2012 academic year. In 2019, Langer was recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education with a Those Who Excel award in the School Administrator category.
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.
Brian O’Keeffe, M.S.Ed. School Business Management, ’10, will join Wheaton-based Community Unit School District 200 in July as assistant superintendent for Business Services. O’Keeffe has served for the last seven years as assistant superintendent for Finance in Oak Forest-based Arbor Park District 14. He previously worked in the private sector for major retailers in management and human resources.
Susan Redell, Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’19, and Ed.D. Curriculum and Instruction-Curriculum Leadership, ’13, has been appointed superintendent of Medinah School District 11, effective March 1, 2021. Redell has served as director of Learning in Medinah since 2005. She first joined the district in 997 as a fourth-grade teacher at Intermediate School and, in 1999, was promoted to principal at Primary School.
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.
Jeff Utsinger, School Business Management certificate (Chief School Business Official endorsement), ’18, will begin work July 1 as assistant superintendent of Canton Union School District 66. Utsinger currently is the high school and junior high school principal for Stark County CUSD #100. He previously served as assistant principal at Geneseo High School, where in 2015 he was named assistant principal of the year for the Blackhawk Region by the Illinois Principals Association.
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.
Erik Youngman, Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’17, Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’11, and M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’01, was featured on The Wired Educator Podcast to discuss topics of homework, assessment and growth mindset. Youngman, the author of “Deliberate Homework,” is director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Libertyville District 70.