Darek Naglak, the director of curriculum and instruction at Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 is resigning his position and will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.

Derek Naglak

In late March, Superintendent Kristopher Rivera informed teachers that he will recommend to the school board that Home School Principal Regina Redd replace Naglak. Redd has a doctorate in education from the University of Saint Francis. She was hired by District 103 last year.

“Dr. Redd will continue to provide leadership that is consistent with the goals and initiatives that administration, union leaders, building leaders, committee leaders and all district staff members have been dedicated and working towards these past several years,” Rivera wrote in a staff email, which the Landmark obtained.

“Her servant leadership style, positive demeanor, passion for education, and immense depth of knowledge will ensure that the district will continue to put its students first and support staff in their endeavors to do the same.”

Regina Redd

At a special meeting on April 10, the District 103 school board voted to amend Redd’s contract as principal of Home School, stating that she will begin her duties as curriculum director on June 14 and will be paid a stipend of $5,664 for that work through June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year, in addition to her duties as principal.

Naglak, who has worked at District 103 since 2017 and was a consultant for the district for one year prior to that, is the longest-tenured central office administrator in a district which has undergone a lot of administrative turnover in recent years.

It is not clear if Naglak is resigning because he was hired by another district or if he is being forced out.

When asked directly by a Landmark reporter on April 10, Rivera refused to comment on both the hiring of Redd and Naglak’s departure.

Naglak declined to be interviewed by the Landmark, instead emailing the newspaper a list of his accomplishments at District 103.

“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing educators during my six years at Lyons SD 103,” Naglak wrote. “The support and commitment from various administrators and teachers played a key role in the accomplishments made during my tenure.”

In listing his major accomplishments at District 103, Naglak pointed to updating curriculum resources, developing an instructional support system and an instructional coaching system, developing a standards-based model for grading and instruction, improving instructional technology with Chromebooks and whiteboards, developing district-wide common assessments, offering summer learning academies and getting teachers to consistently participate in professional learning.

Naglak was popular with teachers, more than a dozen of whom came to the March 28 school board meeting, where Naglak’s resignation was part of the consent agenda, to show their appreciation of and support for him.

Jenna Albers, an instructional coach at Lincoln School in Brookfield, praised Naglak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“It breaks my heart to see our district lose someone who has been such a constant beacon of light and has taken the staff and students to the next level,” Albers said.

Albers said she has never met an educator more committed to growth and equity than Naglak.

“I don’t know how to put into words how grateful the teachers, coaches, and students of Lyons are for all he has done for us,” Albers said.

A teacher who spoke to the Landmark on the condition that she not be identified because of fear of retaliation called losing Naglak a “gut punch.”

“It’s horrible news for the district and the children of District 103,” the teacher said. “He was one of the good people of 103.”

Last year 19% of District 103 students were rated proficient in English language arts and 12% were rated in proficient in math according to the Illinois School Report Card.

The report card also shows that the percentage of District 103 students who are English language learners has increased from 21% in 2017 to 37% in 2022. Students from low-income families constituted 74.5% of the district’s enrollment in 2022, according to the report card, a figure that has remained fairly constant for the past five years.

Enrollment in District 103 also declined from 2018 to 2022, from 2,476 students to 2,121, or by a total of 355 students.

During that time, white student enrollment dropped by 230, Hispanic student enrollment dropped by 98 and Black student enrollment dropped by 27. Hispanic students make up 76.6% of District 103’s total enrollment, according to the 2022 school report card.