ISD 166 welcoming six new teachers this fall

Six new teachers will be joining the Cook County Schools faculty this fall.  Several current teachers came in on their own time to help with the interviewing.  Principal Gwen Carman reported that the hiring decisions were difficult because the applicant pool was so good. 
Superintendent Beth Schwarz said the interview team was asked to consider more than salary levels and coaching ability in their hiring recommendations.  The candidates who were interviewed were asked to demonstrate their teaching by giving a lesson or an example of how they would approach the first day of class during the interview.
In a separate phone interview, Superintendent Schwarz said the district is going to have considerable turnover with expected teacher retirements in the next several years.  They deliberately hired teachers with significant education and/or experience in order to be prepared for these retirements.  She said she believes they hired the best, strongest candidates in the pool.  They will all be on probationary status for at least the first year of their employment.
Kassie Felts will be teaching early childhood special education half-time.  Former ISD 166 employee Natalie Shaw will be returning from Birch Grove Community School to teach first grade.  Todd Toulouse will be teaching middle school math and science, and Sarah Malkovich will be teaching middle school science, health, communications and reading.  David Liechty, who has “significant experience” in juvenile corrections and autism, according to Carman, will be teaching secondary social studies, and Tim Dennison will be teaching secondary math. 
The number of faculty has been reduced by two full-time positions from last year.  The average salary of the teachers that retired, resigned, or whose jobs were not renewed was $54,566, and the average salary of the new faculty members is $50,174.  The savings from staff reductions and lower salaries is $139,746.  The board approved advertising for an educational consultant position for $19,800 plus two single health policies (cheaper than one family policy), however, to replace some of the extra things retired teacher Marc Tavernier did—overseeing continuing education and assisting with the school’s computer system.  The person in this new position will be asked to do other things as well, such as substitute teach, monitor attendance, and proctor tests.