When Natacia Campbell resigned last month as the curriculum director at Lyons-Brookfield School District 103, Superintendent Carol Baker didn’t have much time to find a replacement with the school year starting last week.
So, Baker turned to two familiar faces. Last week the Lyons District 103 school board voted 6 to 0 to hire Darek Naglak to replace Campbell as curriculum director and also hired former Costello School Principal Andrea Maslan as a part-time curriculum consultant to mentor the 30-year Naglak.
For the last two years Naglak has been working at Origo Education as a professional learning consultant, where he focused on math education and teacher training. In that role last year, Naglak worked with District 103, mostly at Edison School, implementing a new Origo K-5 math curriculum.
Wanting to move quickly and knowing that teachers who worked with Naglak were impressed by him, Baker and the school board decided to hire him without interviewing anyone else for the curriculum director position.
“We wanted to get somebody in place as quick as we can,” Baker said. “I think that even if I had done interviews, he would have been our first choice anyway.”
Before going to work for Origo, Naglak was a curriculum leader for four schools for North Palos School District 117. Before that position, Naglak taught gifted learners at Glen Oaks Elementary School in Hickory Hills.
He began his career as a journalism teacher at Liberty Junior High School in Burbank before teaching junior high math for a couple of years. Naglak, who grew up on the Southwest Side of Chicago, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Governors State University.
Naglak says that he wants to focus on making sure that teachers are using effective teaching strategies and use data to drive instruction. He wants teachers to be focused on student growth.
“We look more at grades, but we should be looking at the growth and how much growth these students are making,” Naglak said.
He said teacher training will also be an area of emphasis after a year in which the district implemented new math and language arts curricula.
“I’m going to focus a lot on professional learning to make sure our teachers have everything they need to be successful with the core program,” Naglak said.
Because this is Naglak’s first full-time administrative position, Baker and the school board thought that bringing back Maslan would be a good way to help him in his first year. Maslan’s background in reading will also complement Naglak’s strong background in math.
School board President Marge Hubacek said she has heard good things about Naglak.
“I think the combination of him and having Andi back is a win for our kids,” Hubacek said. [Maslan’s] a reading specialist; she has a lot of knowledge to give. She can work with him and mentor him, and I believe that’s money well spent.”
Naglak will be paid $92,000 a year while Maslan, who retired in 2016 after 12 years as the principal of Costello School, will be paid $500 a day. As a retiree receiving a pension from the Illinois Teacher Retirement System, Maslan can work no more than 100 days a year.
Maslan said she is happy to return to District 103.
“I am really excited,” Maslan said. “It will be so wonderful to work with the teachers, the students [and] the administration in another capacity, but in the area that I really have a love for, and that’s reading.”