by Jim Masters, Education Reporter
LANSING, Ill. (August 2, 2021) – The academic success of Lansing School District 158 students will greatly depend on David Kostopoulos, who was recently named its new Executive Director of Curriculum & Assessment.
Kostopoulos brings a wealth of experience to one of the most important administrative roles with District 158, which he has served for the past 18 years. His District 158 career began as a fifth-grade teacher at Coolidge Elementary, and for the past 10 years Reavis Elementary students knew him as their principal. He is succeeded in that role by former assistant principal Patrice Booth.
“I really enjoyed all those years at Reavis, and I’m going to miss the great staff over there,” he said. “I’m ready to expand and have an impact on the district as a whole.”
A teacher of teachers
Dr. Nathan Schilling, Superintendent of Schools for District 158, said he chose Kostopoulos for the role for his ability to fill the shoes of Shirley Bragg, who retired after 30 years.
“We’re looking for Dave to come in and take things to the next level and build off the foundation Shirley has given us,” Schilling said. “He is the type of person that regardless of what role he serves, we’re confident that he will be very successful. He’s really good at problem solving, collaboration, and relationship building.”
He added that one of Kostopoulos’ strengths is teacher mentoring, which is the subject of his dissertation as he works toward his doctor of education degree.
“We’re looking to blend some of those pieces of his research with his experience teacher mentoring to really enhance and improve our program to support and coach our teachers,” Schilling said.
In his new role, Kostopoulos will lead the district’s pre-K through eighth-grade curriculum programs — and he has a variety of new reading, math, science, and social science programs in the works for the upcoming school year. Those programs include an elementary math pilot program and another for junior high English and language arts.
He believes his biggest challenge will be addressing any gaps in learning from virtual teaching due to the pandemic during the past school year. That effort is already underway with double summer school sessions.
“The pandemic is still with us, as there’s still a need for some social distancing and mask wearing,” Kostopoulos said. “However, we have learned a lot about teaching during the pandemic, such as increasing our technology and distance learning capabilities. These were all impactful things that we don’t want to walk away from.”
Kostopoulos gives much of the credit for learning success over the past year to the “will” of District 158 students, parents and staff to excel under the most difficult circumstances.
“We were teaching in a virtual world last year, and it felt like three school years wrapped into one,” he said. “We started off with people in the building, then having to teach remotely with students learning at home and then bringing students back to school. I’m just very proud of the fact that everyone pushed forward and got creative, like we did with our virtual science fair.”
District 158 is headquartered at 18300 Greenbay Avenue, Lansing, IL.
- Patrice Booth steps into principal role at Reavis Elementary (July 26, 2021)