The new assistant principal at L.J. Hauser Junior High School in Riverside is no stranger to Principal April Mahy. 

On Aug. 9, the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education approved hiring Christine Mullin as the assistant principal at Hauser. Mullin replaces Jason Smit, who decided to become the district’s instructional technology coordinator after serving as assistant principal for one year.

Like Mahy and Smit, Mullin once worked at Hickory Creek Middle School in southwest suburban Frankfort. Mullin served three different stints as interim assistant principal at Hickory Creek alongside Mahy, who also was an assistant principal. 

Mullin’s most recent stint at Hickory Creek was in 2012.  She also served on an interim basis as an assistant principal of Chelsea Intermediate School in Frankfort.

For the last few years Mullin, 46, has been at home taking care of her three sons while becoming very active in her local Mokena school district. She has served as the president of the Mokena Educational Foundation, and served on the Mokena district’s dual language committee and on its strategic plan committee. Mullin also has worked as a teaching and curriculum consultant. 

“Even though I’ve been at home, I’ve certainly been busy,” Mullin said.

Mullin was picked from a field of 137 applicants. Mahy did the initial screening of resumes and invited 10 candidates in for interviews. 

Mahy then chose five candidates who were interviewed by an eight-person panel of two parents, four teachers, Assistant Superintendent Merryl Brownlow and Smit. That committee picked Mullin, who had a final interview with Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye.

Mahy said that the fact she had worked with Mullin before didn’t affect her evaluation, but she knows the type of administrator Mullin is because they had worked together before.

“I knew her work ethic, I knew her character, I knew that she could come in and hit the ground running, because those were positions where school was already in session and she had to come in and take over administrative roles,” Mahy said. 

Mahy and Mullin will take a team approach to curricular oversight with Mullin having primary oversight of science and social science.

Science is a passion for Mullin.

“She’s a self-professed science nerd,” Mahy said. “She’s really going to be helpful in our Next Generation Science Standards that we’ve adopted.”

Mullin believes that her familiarity with Mahy will be an asset.

“She already knows what I’m capable of, so whatever she puts out there in front of me, any projects, she’s already going to know what I can do with those,” Mullin said. “We just know how to work well together.”

Mullin, who grew up in Frankfort, began her teaching career in Homewood District 153 where she taught seventh grade at James Hart Middle School and fifth grade at Churchill School. She concentrated on teaching science but taught a wide range of subjects at the Hart Middle School.

“She really knows curriculum, especially science, and that’s one of areas we’re currently working on,” said Brownlow, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for District 96.

After teaching in Homewood for 12 years, she served for one year in the Homewood district’s administrative offices as coordinator of communications and business before taking time off to be home with her kids.

At Hauser, she will be paid $75,000 a year.

Mullin received her bachelor’s degree in botany and education from Eastern Illinois University and earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University. She earned her Type 75 administrative endorsement from Lewis University. She also served on the launch team and as an instructor for the Brookfield Zoo’s Zoo Camp program.