There will be a new assistant principal at L.J. Hauser Junior High School next fall. Hauser sixth-grade math and science teacher Chris Harvalis is replacing Christy Mullin, who is resigning at the end of the school year to take a job as the director of global missions at her church.
Harvalis, 33, has been a teacher for 12 years. He taught fifth grade at Ames School for five years before moving over to Hauser. During the past couple of years he has helped keep track of tardy students and also has helped out with after school supervision.
“Chris has taken on additional leadership responsibilities as part of his teaching role at Hauser and he just really stood out,” said Riverside Elementary School District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye said. “I think he is going to be a great assistant principal at Hauser.”
Harvalis said he was interested in becoming an administrator so he could have a wider impact than as a classroom teacher.
“You’re making a difference for a larger group of kids than you can as a teacher,” Harvalis said. “This has been something that I’ve been working towards.”
Harvalis, who grew up in Elmwood Park and graduated from Fenwick High School, earned his undergraduate degree from Loyola and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University. He will be paid $77,000 next year in the 10-month position.
There were nearly 60 applicants for the position. After looking at resumes and conducting phone interviews, Hauser Principal April Mahy narrowed the field to four finalists who were then interviewed, via Zoom, by a 12-person interview committee.
The committee recommended Harvalis who then clinched the job with a final interview with Ryan-Toye.
“Chris went up against some pretty tough candidates,” said Mullin. “All of the other candidates had experience.”
Harvalis’ experience at Hauser, where he has impressed his bosses, gave him an edge.
“The relationships that he has cultivated with students and families and staff members over the 12 years really made him a natural fit to move into the position,” Mahy said.
Mahy has had a close working relationship with Mullin and said that she will be missed.
“Her passion for learning coupled with her genuine care for students has been a winning combination,” Mahy said in an email. “She will carry this passion and dedication into her next stage of her career as she works with her church as the missions’ director.”
Last summer, Mullin led a mission trip to Malawi, an impoverished country is East Africa. She had always been passionate about mission work and planned to do that work in retirement.
When her church, Parkview Christian Church, created a new position with her in mind, she could not turn down the opportunity to follow her passion.
“It was a difficult decision,” said Mullin.
Mullin said that she is disappointed that the she won’t be able to say goodbyes to Hauser staff and students in person due to the COVID 19 pandemic shutdown.
“This wasn’t the goodbye I was hoping for,” Mullin said.