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updated: 6/28/2011 5:50 PM

New administrator hired in Cary Dist. 26

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In keeping with its goal of boosting literacy levels in its schools, the Cary Elementary District 26 school board approved the hiring of a new director of curriculum and instruction with a strong background in teaching youngsters how to read and write.

Valerie McCall will replace outgoing Director Mary Dudek, who resigned in May to to accept an assistant superintendent position with Barrington Unit District 220. The board on Monday approved a 12-month contract that starts July 1 with a salary of $93,000.

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For the past five years McCall has served as the director of reading in Elmwood Park District 401. She also possesses a solid foundation as an elementary teacher having taught kindergarten and first and third grades.

"One of our main initiatives in the area of curriculum and instruction is to move forward with the balanced literacy model for reading and writing," Superintendent Brian Coleman said in an email Tuesday. "Mrs. McCall's expertise in the area of reading will be a great asset in this initiative. Reading instruction is a big component of the balanced literacy approach."

McCall's professional training includes a master's degree in leadership in education and administration and a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a reading endorsement. She is nationally board certified in kindergarten through third grade.

Board member Julie Jette, who was part of the search committee that unanimously selected McCall from an initial pool of 27 candidates, said she was impressed with McCall's qualifications and performance exercise.

"I thought she had a great passion for the job," Jette said at Monday's board meeting. "She would relate well to all stakeholders, and I think she will be an asset to the district."

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