Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 has a new human resources director.
On Oct. 27 the District 103 Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Stephanie Koenig, 28, replacing Brian Towne who left the district in September to take a job as the assistant village manager for Oak Lawn.
Koenig has never worked for a school district before, but she brings a background in graphic arts and web development as well as human resources experience to the job.
For the past 4-plus years, Koenig has worked as a human resources assistant and webmaster for the Orland Fire Protection District. She earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Robert Morris University in 2014 and is studying for a master’s degree in human resources at Roosevelt University. She expects to earn her master’s degree next year.
“The potential and the ability of this young woman is fantastic,” said District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera, who was the HR director of the Hammond, Indiana school district before being hired as superintendent in District 103 in 2019. “She’s going to bring a very modern skill set to human resources on top of having on top of having all the competencies that are required. She’s a very bright young lady and she’s going to do very well.”
The Orland Fire Protection District covers Orland Park, Orland Hills and the unincorporated parts of Orland Township and has about 250 employees.
Koenig, a native of Blue Island, began working at the Orland Fire Protection District as a graphic design intern while in college and then became a part time administrative assistant and webmaster before being hired as full-time employee in 2016.
“My experience at Orland Fire really, really prepared me for this,” Koenig told the Landmark during her first day of work at District 103 on Nov. 2. “I worked very closely with the HR director Lucy McGlynn. We were kind of a pair and she allowed me to take on some big roles to assist her.”
On Monday, Koenig said that she just had the usual first day on a new job jitters.
“I’m ready for it,” Koenig said. “Obviously, I’m a little bit nervous because new jobs are nerve-wracking, but that’s just the transition to a new job. I feel I’m very ready for the role.”
Rivera said he is excited to have someone with Koenig’s design and web skills in the HR job.
Koenig will be paid an annual salary of $72,000. Towne had been paid $115,000. Before voting to approve the hire, board member Marge Hubacek questioned why Koenig was being offered a much lower salary than the man she is replacing.
“That’s a huge difference,” Hubacek said of the two salaries for the same job.
Rivera explained that Towne, who had been the chief of staff to Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart among other jobs, had much more experience than Koenig. He said Koenig, could get raises after her first year on the job.
“After the first year, if things go well, we could consider a different rate,” Rivera said.
Koenig was one of four finalists interviewed for the job.
Custodians get new contract
At their Oct. 27 meeting, school board members also unanimously approved a new two-year contact with the union custodians, giving them annual raises of 3 percent in both years of the deal.
The contract is retroactive to July 1. At first the district wanted a one-year contact but negotiators for the district and Service Employees International Union Local 73 settled on a two-year contract that just focused on wages. Amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, negotiators decided to defer non-economic issues.
“We didn’t want to prolong the negotiations,” Rivera said. “We wanted to reward the custodians for the work that they do and then come back to the other details of the contract.”
Union steward Jerry Przyzycki, a longtime custodian at George Washington Middle School, said that the custodians voted unanimously to approve the contract.