District 171 fills open teaching positions, approves contract renewals

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District 171
The District 171 main office is located at 19266 Burnham Avenue in Lansing. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
BY JIM MASTERS

LANSING, Ill. (May 20, 2021) — The District 171 School Board filled several open teaching positions at its meeting on May 17.

But first, following a brief opening to the meeting and the swearing in of new board member Nicole Thompson, the members adjourned into a closed-door executive session for approximately 45 minutes while discussing various personnel matters.

Approved hires

Once they returned to the public portion of the meeting, they approved the hiring of:

  • Andre Mitchell as a fourth-grade teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary at an annual salary of $44,005
  • Amelia O’Donnell as a music teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary at an annual salary of $44,445
  • Lauren Blount as an English teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary at an annual salary of $49,819
  • Aarti Malhorta as a sixth-grade math teacher at Heritage Middle School at an annual salary of $46,823
  • Amy Downin as a fifth-grade English teacher at Heritage Middle School at an annual salary of $51,655
  • Jillian Verta as a fifth-grade English teacher at Heritage Middle School at a salary of $46,213

The board also accepted the resignation “with regret” of its school nurse, Loida Thorne.

Approved contracts

In addition to approving the employment of 16 paraprofessionals, the board approved 2021-2022 contracts for:

  • David Shrader, Chief School Business Officer
  • Lori Owens Stranc, Director of Curriculum & Instruction
  • Kathy Martin, Interim Director of Special Services
  • Mike McGowan, Technology Director
  • Joseph Kent, Nathan Hale Elementary Principal
  • Chantelle Cambric, Heritage Middle School Principal
  • Joel Sarkey, Nathan Hale Elementary Assistant Principal
  • Shannon Shockley, Heritage Middle School Principal
  • Kerry Czarobski, Administrative Assistant, Special Services
  • Shari Hooten, District Bookkeeper
  • Brenda Camalick, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Other District 171 items

In other action, the board increased its substitute teacher rate to $125 per day. They also allocated $28,800 toward the Math Muscles program, which will allow 50 students to receive virtual math instruction during June.

Further details on board actions were unavailable — including an agenda item pertaining to a “settlement agreement” with three unidentified students — as Superintendent Dr. Erika Millhouse-Pettis did not return calls placed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to her office by The Lansing Journal seeking comment.

The District 171 main office is located at 19266 Burnham Avenue, Lansing, IL.

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