Sherry Reynolds-Whitaker

Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 has hired a full-time business manager, its first since former Business Manager Jacqueline Parisi left under unexplained circumstances last year. 

On June 12, the District 103 school board voted 6 to 0 to hire Sherry Reynolds-Whitaker as its full-time business manager. 

Reynolds-Whitaker is the assistant director of finance for Community Unit School District 308 in Oswego. District 308 is the eighth largest school district in Illinois, serving about 17,600 students in two high schools, five junior highs, and 14 elementary schools.

Reynolds-Whitaker, who has extensive private sector experience, has worked at District 308 for nearly three years. She will start at District 103 on July 1 and be paid $105,000 in her new job. She received a one-year contract.

Prior to working for District 308, Reynolds-Whitaker served as a regional financial consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education. She worked in the private sector until 2011 and worked for OfficeMax in strategy and corporate development from 2006 to 2011. She also has had short stints with insurance giant CNA and IBM. She teaches business part time at Olivet Nazarene University.

Last year, Reynolds-Whitaker earned a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University. She received a master’s degree in school business education from NIU in 2013 and an MBA from NIU in 2009. 

She received her undergraduate degree in business administration/accounting from West Virginia State University in 1992.

Reynolds-Whitaker was chosen from a field of more than a dozen candidates, District 103 Superintendent Carol Baker said. Six candidates were interviewed by interview team, and Reynolds-Whitaker and one other candidate received second interviews with Baker.

“The board reviewed the two top candidates, and the board and I chose the final candidate together,” Baker said. “Her background is extensive, and because she comes from such a large school district, she’s touched all the different areas on a larger scale. 

“She’s done lunches, she done levies, she’s done budgeting, so everything that we need, critical things that we need, she’s had some experience with. 

The board met Reynolds-Whitaker for the first time in closed session Monday before voting to hire her.

School board President Marge Hubacek was impressed with Reynolds-Whitaker.

“I think she’s going to be good,” Hubacek said. “I don’t think she’s going to be to be intimidated, and I think we’ll have confidence in her. I liked her very much.”

Reynolds-Whitaker is coming to District 103 at a time when school board members are unsure of the financial condition of the district.

New school board member Shannon Johnson, who has been very critical of Baker in the past, praised the hiring process for Reynolds-Whitaker.

“It was very open and transparent and it was appreciated,” Johnson said. “I hope that’s a good sign for the future and a step in the right direction.”