The new administrative team at Riverside-Brookfield High School has been completed. On March 24, the District 208 school board voted unanimously to hire two new assistant principals to begin work at RBHS on July 1. Both new assistant principals are 36 years old and both will be paid $100,000.

Kylie Gregor, the teacher leader of the English Department at Rich Central High School was hired to be the new assistant principal for curriculum and instruction, replacing Interim Assistant Principal Kimberly Hayes, who will return to teaching. 

Hayes was named interim assistant principal last year when Kristin Smetana was promoted to principal.

Dave Mannon, a dean and Special Education Department chairman at Bartlett High School, will replace the retiring John Passarella as the assistant principal for student affairs.

In January, the school board voted unanimously to hire Sheila Jercich, a special education supervisor at Elmhurst Unit School District 205, to replace Gayle Brankin, who is retiring, as the head of the Special Education Department. 

Jercich, 46, will be paid $115,000 a year. In Elmhurst, Jercich supervises the special education programs at eight elementary schools. Prior to working in District 205, Jercich worked at Westmont High School as a special education coordinator and school psychologist. 

She earned two master’s degrees from Governors State University, one in school psychology and another in school administration. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.

“The new administrators have a strong work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish what is in the best interests of students,” Smetana said. “They each have building- or district-wide experiences that have prepared them for their new roles and responsibilities at RB. These three student-centered individuals will bring their knowledge and passion to the current administrative team as we continue to move RB forward.”

Smetana said there were 70 applicants for the curriculum and instruction post and 85 applicants for the student affairs job. Seven finalists were interviewed for each position. One finalist for the student affairs position was a current RBHS staff member, Smetana said, but she refused to identify that person. 

Gregor, who has taught English at Rich Central for 10 years, is ready for a promotion, said Rich Central Principal Venesa Woods.

“I enjoy working with Ms. Gregor greatly,” Woods said. “She’s ready for more leadership tasks and responsibilities. She’s conscientious about her work and her craft. She seeks out professional development for herself and has a desire to share with others. She’s really good.” 

Gregor said her passions are skills-based instruction and data-driven teaching. She said she wants to learn more about the traditions and practices at RBHS before she makes any changes.

“RB has a rich academic tradition,” Gregor said. “As a new person coming in, I really want to work closely with what I have experienced so far as a great leadership team in Dr. Skinkis and Ms. Smetana. I want to listen before making any sort big moves, because I want to be respectful to the tradition that Riverside Brookfield holds.”

Gregor, who grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio, holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree from Concordia University. She taught for three years in Ohio before coming to Rich Central.

Mannon grew up in Lisle and attended Lisle High School where he was a three-sport athlete. He has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and two master’s degrees — in teaching from National Louis University and in educational leadership from Governors State University.

He obtained his master’s in teaching after working for a year as a one-on-one special education aide at Neuqua Valley High School. Mannon began his high school teaching career as a special education teacher at Plainfield North High School in 2006. 

Mannon moved to an administrative role at Bartlett High School in 2012, after District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis had already left Bartlett to come to District 208. At Bartlett, he supervises the special education department and serves as a dean to about 250 students.

Mannon said that after working in newer schools he is anxious to be part of school with a long history.

“Coming from buildings that are relatively new and how we’re always trying to create new traditions and cultures and things like that, going back to a building that is so storied and has so many educational roots established … will be a little bit of a change, but something I really welcome,” Mannon said.

Mannon’s grandmother attended RBHS for one year and his great uncle, Leslie Knudson, graduated from RBHS in 1945.

New hire denies role in controversial book

The incoming assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Riverside Brookfield High School is a published author. In 2005, Kylie Gregor wrote a book, Peeling the Apple, about her first three years of teaching English at a rural Ohio high school. But that's not the book that is generating some talk about Gregor at RBHS.

Rather, it's a frank and controversial book about dating written by a former colleague of Gregor's at Rich Central High School.

The book, titled It's Her Fault, was penned by Bryan Craig, a former guidance counselor and girls basketball coach at Rich Central. Craig was fired from his job after the 60-page, self-published book came out in 2012, a decision upheld by a federal appeals court.

Gregor's name appears at the end of an editor's foreword which thanks Craig for providing good dating advice. But Gregor told the Landmark that she did not edit the book or write the foreword attributed to her.

"That's an unfortunate incident that occurred that to this day really sort of saddens me and makes me very uneasy, because I didn't author it and I didn't authorize that particular individual to use my name or my likeness in that situation," Gregor said. "It still is something that is very troublesome to me."

Gregor said she did not edit It's Her Fault and had no role in writing or publishing the book.

The Landmark could not contact Craig but spoke to the lawyer who handled Craig's lawsuit against the Rich Township School District 227. The attorney said he would deliver a message to Craig, who has not contacted the Landmark.

Asked if she took any legal steps to have her name removed from It's Her Fault, Gregor responded, "That's something I consider to be private. I don't really feel comfortable commenting on the steps that were taken to try and correct that situation."

Gregor said that her association with It's Her Fault never came up during her two interviews at RBHS.

Superintendent Kevin Skinkis and Principal Kristin Smetana as well as the members of the District 208 Board of Education didn't become aware of Gregor's connection to the book until after the school board voted unanimously to hire her on March 24.

"A question was raised about her alleged connection with the aforementioned book," Skinkis said in an email on Monday. "The district has spoken with Kylie about her involvement with the book and is looking into the alleged connection."

Smetana says she doesn't think the issue is relevant to her becoming an assistant principal at RBHS.

"I understand that she may be attached to the book, but she did not write that and I think people will see once she steps into her role that she's more than capable of being the assistant principal of curriculum and instruction and moving RB forward in those areas," Smetana said.

—Bob Skolnik