Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 is looking for a new director of special education in the wake of the resignation of Jennifer Ames, who is leaving for a similar opportunity in LaGrange Highlands District 106.

Ames, District 95’s special education director for the past seven years, will replace longtime special education director Kim Haag at District 106, a two-school district that serves some 980 students of unincorporated LaGrange Highlands, Western Springs, Indian Head Park and a portion of Countryside.

Haag is retiring from District 106 after 38 years as both a teacher and administrator.

“We’re thrilled to have Jennifer with us,” said District 106 Superintendent Dr. Arleen Armanetti. “She has a wonderful reputation in the Lyons Township area.”

Armanetti said that District 106 has a strong inclusion program, and that Ames’ experience in District 95 fit well with District 106’s mission to include children with special needs into regular education settings.

“I feel melancholy leaving the district,” Ames said. “But [District 106] is just a really good opportunity in a growing district.”

The district is expected to grow further once new homes begin to sprout on the former Timber Trails golf club property, acquired in 2004 by a residential development firm.

During Ames’ tenure in District 95, special education services have grown to include a model where individual programs have been tailored to meet children’s needs. Under her direction, the school district also adopted a way to measure student performance based on norms of students within the district not simply state yardsticks.

In addition, Ames spearheaded the effort to create a self-contained program at Brook Park School to meet the needs of students with more significant disabilities. And during the 2004-05 school year, Ames rolled out a new Guided Study Program for at-risk students.

Ames was also instrumental in creating an English as a Second Language (ESL) Program in the district. Although the number of students within District 95 who need ESL services is relatively small (15 to 20 students), “their needs were not being addressed at all,” Ames said.

District 95 has posted a job notice for Ames’ replacement, and the deadline for resumes was Monday.

A replacement is expected to be hired by mid-July.

?”Bob Uphues