By Bob Skolnik
It appears that Jill Musil has taught her last class at Riverside-Brookfield High School.
Musil, a fourth-year social studies teacher, has been on medical leave since before spring break and it doesn't appear that she will be returning to her classroom.
A long-term substitute teacher has taken her place, and Musil has been replaced as a Special Olympics track coach this spring by English teacher Kathleen Harsy.
"I'm on voluntary medical leave right now and that's about all I want to say right now," Musil told the Landmark on April 17.
Sam Styler, a graduate of the University of Iowa, who student-taught at RBHS in the fall and has been working this spring as a teacher's aide, has taken over Musil's classes.
"I will be taking over the day-to-day responsibilities and am looking forward to finishing the school year strong," Styler said in an email sent April 17 to the parents of students in Musil's classes.
Styler coached football at RBHS in the fall while he was student teaching and is now coaching the school's club lacrosse team.
Full-time, long-term substitutes at RBHS who teach a full load of five classes are paid $140 a day.
Last month, in a controversial decision, the District 208 school board voted unanimously not to rehire Musil for a fifth year. If Musil had been rehired for next year she would have obtained tenure at RBHS. Despite the vote, Musil had been expected remain at RBHS for the remainder of the school year.
The school board cited a lack of professionalism in its vote not to rehire Musil, but has not said much publicly about the reasons for the decision not to rehire Musil.
The school administration apparently felt that Musil had interjected her political views into her classes at times and had spoken with a student about birth control.
In the weeks leading up to the vote, Musil had received strong support from many students and some community members. Students and a few parents spoke in support of Musil during the public comment period of board meetings earlier this year.
They praised her as a caring teacher who had a special ability to reach disengaged students. Musil made a lengthy statement to the board defending herself before the school vote on March 14.
Students, upset at the decision not to rehire Musil, held a three-hour long sit-in the day after the board voted not to rehire her.
A couple of days after the board vote, Musil allegedly referred to RBHS principal Kristin Smetana by a derogatory name during a class. A parent complained to the school and the school began an investigation that has now been halted.
"We're no longer proceeding with that," said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis.
Skinkis and Smetana declined to say whether Musil is being paid while she is on leave or to comment on her status.
The decision not to rehire Musil emerged as an issue in the April 4 school board election in which the two incumbents running for re-election were both defeated.
"The people of the Riverside-Brookfield area have spoken for who they want, that's been made clear," said Musil, a resident of Brookfield.
This story has beeen changed to correct the college alma mater of teacher Sam Styler.