For the first time in approximately 20 years, Komarek School District 94 has a new business manager. On July 1, Imaad Dada replaced Kathy Gibson, who retired as the school’s business manager.
“It’s time to spend more time with my grandchildren,” Gibson told the Landmark shortly before her last day of work.
Dada, 27, had been an accountant for the Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401 for nearly three years. He actually started working at Komarek School on May 2, so he could work with Gibson to ease the transition.
Raised in Naperville, Dada graduated DePaul University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He went on to earn a master’s degree in school finance from Northern Illinois University in 2018. Prior to working for District 401 he worked four years as an accountant for the Northers Suburban Special Education District.
It turns out that Imaad is not the only Dada working at Komarek District 94. His uncle, Mohsin Dada, a retired school business manager who had worked for Schaumburg School District 54 and Highland Park District 112, has been working for a couple years at Komarek on a part-time basis.
Moshin Dada and his wife Yasmine, also a retired school business manager, have a firm called School Business Management Services LLC, which provides part-time interim help for school districts.
At Komarek District 94, Moshin Dada worked on lowering the costs of the ultimately successful building bond referendum that was approved in 2020 and is overseeing the financial aspects of the construction of a new wing at Komarek. He also helped Gibson prepare the budgets. Komarek pays Mohsin Dada $750 a day when he works.
“I am helping Komarek because two-and-a-half years ago the school district had a very substantial challenge,” Mohsin Dada said. “Very soon we started doing some budget alignments and made the school district sustainable.”
Now Moshin Dada is also mentoring his nephew.
Imaad’s father, Abdul Dada, is also a school business manager and is the comptroller for Maywood School District 89.
That family background influenced Imaad Dada’s decision to go into the school finance field instead of doing tax or auditing work, the most common career path for graduates of DePaul’s accounting program.
“Since I have a lot of families members in the business there was a lot of exposure for me,” Imaad Dada said. “I always knew when I was young that I wanted to do something business and number related. With my aunt, uncle and dad, I decided to give school business an opportunity and I enjoyed what I did so I stuck with it.”
Imaad Dada’s salary is $80,000 a year. He was initially one of four applicants for the business manager position interviewed by Komarek Superintendent Todd Fitzgerald. Dada and one other finalist had second interviews with Fitzgerald and Komarek Principal Diane Michelini before the school board voted to hire him in April.
Firm also hired by District 103
Mohsin and Yasmine Dada’s firm was hired last month by Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 to help run its business office this year and mentor Bill Chappell, who was hired last year as the assistant business manager and is being elevated to business manager.
Mohsin Dada said Yasmine will be the main person working at District 103. She is expected to work for District 103 for no more than five hours a day and for no more than 200 days in the year.
Since both Mohsin and Yasmine Dada are receiving substantial pensions from the state, they are limited in how much they can work and still receive their pensions.
Guy Cahill, the interim business manager at District 103 who was hired in January, will leave the district after completing the district’s 2022-23 budget and a couple other projects. In his short time at District 103, Cahill helped negotiate the new teachers’ contract that was approved this summer. Cahill has been paid $750 a day.
Yasmine Dada will mentor Chappell, whose background was in investments before coming to District 103 last year.
“This group will help him with a one-year round with the budget and different aspects like that and help us with negotiations,” said District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera.