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By Bob Uphues
On the heels of hiring a new principal to take the reins of Congress Park School in Brookfield, the LaGrange-Brookfield School District 102 Board of Education at a special meeting on June 18 announced the appointment of Sunny Jonas, as the assistant principal of both Congress Park and Ogden schools.
And like Congress Park's new principal, Jonas has a bit of an unconventional background, having spent much of her time as an educational consultant and working for a nonprofit assisting child refugees since 2007.
Jonas comes to Congress Park and Ogden schools after serving for two years as an assistant principal and assessment specialist for Chicago Public Schools. But, prior to that, Jonas spent six years as a refugee youth specialist for the religious-based humanitarian nonprofit World Relief.
She also worked for two years as director of the Yale University literacy initiatives New Haven Reads and LEAP, in addition to her work as an education consultant.
According to her online bio, Jonas has a master's in educational leadership from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from University of Chicago. She also was awarded a two-year education fellowship at Yale.
Jonas will start in her new role at Congress Park and Ogden in late July.
In May, the District 102 school board hired James Robinette, principal of a dual-language immersion school in Rockford, to be new principal of Congress Park School.
The former personal trainer, sous chef and restaurant manager switched careers to education about a decade ago. He's been principal of Barbour Two-Way Language Immersion School in Rockford for the past three years.
His experience in dual-language education will be useful at Congress Park, which started such a program in 2017-18 for kindergartners and will be expanding it one grade each year.
D102 hires top special ed administrator
Also on June 18, Superintendent Kyle Schumacher introduced Terry Sofianos as District 102's new assistant superintendent for special education. She'll replace Joyce Powell, who has served in that role for four years.
Sofianos, who was selected from a field of three finalists, will start July 1. According to Schumacher, the hiring committee included parents and teachers from each school in the district, as well as administrators.
"Her ability to connect with parents and teachers as she considers ways to best meet the needs of our students receiving special services made her the top choice," said Schumacher in a press release.
Sofianos comes to District 102 after serving for two years as director of pupil services as Avoca School District 37 in Wilmette. She has been an administrator since 2011 after starting her career as a classroom teacher and special education resource in Glenview in 1990.
The Chicago resident's starting salary will be $138,000.