Veteran special education teacher Kevin Baldus has been named the interim special education director at Riverside-Brookfield High School, replacing Shelia Jercich who left the school this summer after five years to take a job as the head of special education at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn.
Baldus, 46, has been a special education at RBHS for seven years and has taught in a variety of settings for 20 years. His salary will be $89,402.
He began his career as a teacher at Krejci Academy, a therapeutic day school in Naperville and also taught a special-needs program in DuPage High School District 88. Before coming to RBHS, he was a special education teacher at West Chicago High School, where he also served as boys varsity basketball coach from 2009 until 2012.
Baldus served as interim special education director at RBHS for six weeks late in 2019 when Jercich was out on leave. He has also served as the instructional coach in the special education department at RBHS for the last 2-plus years.
His official title is interim director of special education services. He says he does not know yet whether he will apply to do the job on a permanent basis.
“We have a long road ahead of us in just figuring out the beginning of the new school year and how the school year is going to look,” Baldus said.
When he came to RBHS seven years ago, Baldus headed the study skills program, a supportive study hall staffed by a special education teacher. More recently, he has served as a co-teacher in math courses and as a case manager as well as serving as the special education department’s instructional coach.
Baldus, who grew up in West Chicago, earned his bachelor’s degree from North Central College where he majored in history and secondary education and played basketball.
He has earned two master’s degrees, one in special education from Northern Illinois University and another in educational leadership from Benedictine University. Baldus was an assistant sophomore boys basketball coach at RBHS until a couple of years ago.
In his time as an acting special education director last year, Baldus got a taste of what it was like to be an administrator instead of a teacher.
“After being a teacher for so long you’re kind of used to being part of the bell schedule, so the bell rings and you’re supposed to be some place,” Baldus said. “As an administrator, when the bells go off you’re still doing what you’re doing. As silly as that sounds, that was the biggest adjustment.”
Baldus said special education supports for students this year will be implemented once the school decides on what type of school attendance will be required in the upcoming school year.
“It’s going to really depend on what direction the district decides to take when it comes to the all school learning plan,” Baldus said. “When the all school learning plan is decided upon, then the special ed supports will be put in place.”