In its first substantive act, the reconstituted Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education hired a new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Tuesday night.

The board voted unanimously to hire Merryl Brownlow to the post, replacing Brian Ganan, who is leaving on July 1 to become the new superintendent at Komarek School District 94.

Under Superintendent Bhavna Sharma-Lewis, Ganan’s title was director of academic excellence. Although the name will change, the duties will remain essentially the same.

Brownlow, 49, is finishing up her first year as the assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Lombard Elementary School District 44. Prior the taking the Lombard job last summer, Brownlow was a principal for nine years.

From 2009 until last year she was the principal at Willard School in River Forest. Prior that she was the principal of Glen Grove School in Glenview.

“We are confident that she will do a great job building on the curriculum development work that Dr. Sharma-Lewis and Dr. Ganan have done in collaboration with our teachers,” said newly elected school board President Jeffery Miller after the vote to hire Brownlow.

Before becoming a principal, Brownlow worked as a teacher and administrator in New Jersey and the suburbs north of Philadelphia. She taught first grade for seven years and fifth grade for one year. She is a national board certified teacher.

Brownlow grew up in Glenview and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications. After graduating from Michigan, Brownlow worked for six years in retail management and merchandising for Macy’s and May Merchandising before deciding to become a teacher.

She has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Rider University and this fall will begin a program to earn a doctorate in education.

Brownlow will be paid $137,500 in her new position and was given a one-year contract.

“I’m excited, honored and humbled to be joining District 96,” Brownlow said.

Lombard District 44 is about twice the size of District 96. Brownlow said she is looking forward to again working in a smaller district.

“The intimacy of a smaller district and being able to have those relationships being very well-developed and be hands on in the schools … is very appealing to me,” Brownlow said.

“And also the level of community involvement and the support for the schools in Riverside. I appreciate that and embrace that, and I like to collaborate with all stakeholders to do what’s best for students.”