The Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 School board appointed the district curriculum coordinator as S.E. Gross Middle School’s new assistant principal at its June 14 meeting, finishing a game of administrative musical chairs set off by the retirement of Brook Park School’s principal.
Heather Kadlec will replace Michael Sorenson, who was named the new principal at Brook Park in May. Sorenson, formerly assistant principal at Gross School, is taking the place of Claudia Newman, a 30-year veteran of the district who announced her retirement in March.
Kadlec has been with the district in various positions since 2000. She started at Brook Park as a third grade teacher, switched to fourth grade after two years, and then moved to S.E. Gross Middle School as a sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher.
This past school year Kadlec took on the new position of curriculum coordinator, which involved analyzing and researching the district’s standardized test data and working with faculty members on other curriculum issues. She also served as a half-time enrichment teacher at Brook Park School.
As assistant principal, which is also a half-time position, Kadlec said she would be continuing as the curriculum coordinator, but leaving her teaching position. In an e-mail, she said she was looking forward to the challenges of being an administrator, but wanted to stay connected to students as much as possible. She said she’s been involved in S.E. Gross’s extracurricular mentoring, tutoring, and theater programs in the past, and hoped to continue that next year.
“I am planning on attending as many school activities as possible, before, during, and after school to keep a positive relationship with the body of students,” she stated.
S.E. Gross Principal Todd Fitzgerald, who ran the interview process for the position, said Kadlec was picked from a pool of about 40 applicants and six finalists. He said her knowledge of the district, as well as the dedication she always brought to her positions at both school, made her stand out from the crowd.
“A lot of it had to do with her passion for District 95,” he said. “She’s also a very creative person and a real problem-solver.”
Fitzgerald noted that Kadlec’s position as curriculum coordinator also complemented her new assistant principal role, whose duties include coordinating standardized testing and helping to develop and improve curriculum programs.
“It definitely fits well, as far as trying to move from what’s going on with subjects at each grade level to an institution level, making sure there’s continuity and consistency,” he said.
Fitzgerald said the other duties of the assistant principal include handling disciplinary matters, assisting in creating the master class schedule, and coordinating after-school activities.
As for filling the vacancy in the district’s enrichment program left by Kadlec’s appointment, District 95 Superintendent Thomas Hurlburt said the board approved the posting of a full-time enrichment program teacher position to join the other existing half-time enrichment teacher in the fall.
In recent years the program has only been staffed by two half-time teachers for both schools, but Hurlburt said this was no longer enough to handle the growing program.
“It really comes down to just trying to be aware of additional needs,” he said.