Another District 46 administrator to leave

PRAIRIE GROVE – Another administrator will be leaving District 46, the fifth since a one-day teachers' strike launched an election season that completely changed the makeup of the school board's leadership.

Director of Student Services Beth Martin will take the same position with Winnetka District 36, a larger district that serves 2,000 kindergartners through eighth-graders in Cook County and feeds into New Trier Township High School.

Martin has worked at Prairie Grove District 46 since 2002 when she started as a speech pathologist, according to a District 36 release. She previously worked for the Special Education District of McHenry County.

"Beth Martin has a lot of experience," District 46 school board president Margaret Ponga. "There's no doubt. She's very loved in our district. She's done amazing things for our kids and our district. When I spoke to Beth, she seemed very excited about her new opportunity."

Martin oversaw the implementation of an early childhood program and a cross categorical special education program at Prairie Grove Junior High School, Superintendent Lynette Zimmer said.

Martin will start at District 36 on May 27, before the end of the school year, which is "always an issue," Zimmer said, adding that she knows Martin will try to wrap up the projects she's been working on.

A decision on what to do with Martin's position and department will be made in conjunction with the district's new superintendent, Ponga said.

The district just completed second round interviews with the two candidates it narrowed down from a pool of five in the first round, she said.

"The interviewing process for the superintendent has been going fantastic," Ponga said. "School Exec Connect [the firm the district hired to conduct the candidate search] 100 percent did an A plus job. They brought us five candidates all fantastic in their own right, just wonderful, wonderful candidates."

The board is working toward being able to present a new superintendent to the community at its May 13 school board meeting, she said.

The new superintendent will be in charge of a leadership team that is mostly made up of newcomers to District 46. Only Principal Victor Wight will have been with the district more than a year.

Three administrators – the business manager; assistant principal; and curriculum, assessment and learning coordinator – left over the summer, and Zimmer announced her resignation in December.

"I would think it's a challenge," Zimmer said. "I know that anytime you lose people you lose that history."

Ponga is confident that the newness of the team won't affect the quality of education, adding that the superintendent search has meant that the board has spent a lot of time together and has made a lot of progress toward working together.

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