By Steve Robinson | July 10, 2019 - 10:36 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – At what will be the only meeting scheduled this month for members of Normal-based Unit 5 School Board, and five weeks until the start of the new school year, District Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel had some reminders for parents during his “Superintendent’s Comments” segment of the session. The meeting was held July 10 at district headquarters on Hovey Ave.

“I just want to remind everyone that the first day of school is Friday, Aug. 16, and it will be here before we know it,” Daniel said. “Parents should make sure their children have their necessary immunizations and physicals to start the school year on time.”

In addition, Daniel informed Board members student registration started on July 9 giving parents the opportunity to use the Infinite Campus system. In December, Board members approved paying $393,000 in installments for the new system which would replace the Skyward Computer System which the district had been using for over a decade and a half. Board members unanimously approved spending the money on a new information system known as Infinite Campus, manufacturer by Greeley, Colo.-based Computer Information Concepts, Inc.

Unit 5’s first payment of $206,000 was made a few days before Christmas, according to the copy of the agreement between the company and the district provided to the media. A second payment of $88,883 was made by the district in March, and was followed by a third payment of $64,326 made July 1. Unit 5 has a fourth and final payment of $34,550 due by mid-August.

“I want to thank the team that is working to make the transition to Infinite Campus as seamless as possible,” Daniel said.

Jeff Miner, a programmer for Unit 5, told Board members that as of that meeting, the number of students registered for fall classes was ahead of the number of students registered under the previous system at this time last year.

Marty Hickman, business manager for the district, reported to Board members the district recently tested the newly-installed Tyler Vision accounting system checking its capability to produce checks. He reported the recent dry run was successful.

Update On Summer School And Autism Camp Given: Board members heard from Ashley Gibler and Chris Ellis who have been among the teachers overseeing the Summer School and Autism Camp, both taking place this summer at Parkside Junior High School. Gibler and Ellis reported a total of 327 students from both inside and outside of Unit 5 have attended summer school this year. Some of the students from outside the district were from El Paso Gridley, they explained. A total of 140 employees were on staff for the sessions.

The Autism Camp, Gibler explained, is introduced to the students prior to the camp date using an open house format to prepare the students, allowing them to understand what will take place at the camp.

Suzi Hesser Introduced As New Principal At Parkside Junior High School: Suzzette “Suzi” Hesser was introduced to Board members as the new principal at Parkside Junior High School. The introduction was made by Dr. Ray Epperson, assistant superintendent. Hesser and her husband, Scott attended Illinois State University 30 years ago and lived in Cardinal Court while starting a family. That family now includes a five-month-old grandson, providing the Hessers to return to the community.

An educator for 24 years, Hesser has taught fifth grade, and been both a principal and an administrator at the junior high level. Her most recent assignment was as superintendent for the Hoopeston Area School District. Her career as a principal and an administrator placed her in the Sterling School District. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University. Her undergraduate major was elementary education. Her Master’s field of study was Educational Leadership. She currently is working toward obtaining a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. Hesser has experience as a district administrator because she is the former superintendent of a Vermillion County school system. Unit 5 will pay Hesser $92,500.

With her hiring, Hesser becomes PJHS’ principal on July 1. Hesser replaces Darrin Cooper, who was recently promoted to be Unit 5’s new Director of Teaching and Learning.

Rachael Hernandez Promoted For Double-Duty At Kingsley And Evans Junior High Schools: Rachael Hernandez was introduced to Board members by Epperson as the assistant principal at not one, but two of the district’s four junior high schools. Hernandez will split her time between Kingsley Junior High School and George L. Evans Junior High School. Hernandez graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Science degree having majored in Spanish Education in December 2006.

Her Unit 5 career began as a teacher’s assistant at Cedar Ridge Elementary in 2011. From there, in 2012, she moved to Normal Community West High School where she helped establish the school’s Collaborative Learning Services Room. In 2013, Normal West hired Hernandez as a Spanish teacher. She earned a Master’s degree in teaching Reading from ISU in 2015. Prior to her new assignment, Hernandez has served as Foreign Language Department Chair at Normal West for the past five years.

Hernandez recently completed her Administrative Internship at Normal Community High School and earned a Master’s Degree from ISU in Educational Leadership. Hernandez’s husband, Shawn, attended the meeting to see his wife introduced.

UFEA President Dickinson Recognized As YWCA “Women Of Distinction” Nominee: Daniel recognized Lindsey Dickinson, president of Unit Five Education Association (UFEA) for being nominated among 30 nominees for the 2019 YWCA “Women Of Distinction” Award, an annual honor bestowed on nominated women in the community.

Next Board Meeting On Aug. 14: There is no second Unit 5 Board meeting slated for July. The Board’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at District headquarters, starting at 7p.m.

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