Emmons Elementary District 33 is getting used to a new face this summer as the newly hired superintendent and principal prepares for her next three years.
Two weeks in to her job in the one-school K-8 district, Eileen Conway said what she is most looking forward to is being able to work in many different areas.
"You can wear so many different hats in this position because you're superintendent but you're also the principal," Conway said. "That part is very, very appealing to me."
Since her fourth- and fifth-grade teaching days, Conway said she had somewhat gotten away from working directly with students.
She started her career in education at Hawthorn Elementary District 73 in Vernon Hills as a teacher for 17 years. However, in the past nine years, she had served in a variety of administrative positions, such as assistant principal, principal, director of human resources and most recently, assistant superintendent.
"I mainly dealt with labor relations, (and) I dealt with a lot of equipment, implementing programs into classrooms, where here I'm going to have the opportunity to not only make those decisions but be in those classrooms," she said. She will be paid $132,000 per year.
Conway said she will put that experience to use in District 33, where one of her goals is to add more technology to the building.
She acknowledged that technology and other improvements can be hard to pull off in difficult economic times. So, one of her first plans will be to create a financial advisory task force to determine where the district can save money "without taking away from the kids," she said.
Conway received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Illinois University and her doctoral degree from National Louis University in Chicago.
She replaces Robert Machak, who spent four years in the district and left to take a superintendent position at Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 in Cook County.
Some of Machak's accomplishments include creating a new gifted student program, middle school advanced math program, drama program, guided study hall program and bimonthly makeup program.
Machak said he was most proud of his success in maximizing savings. During his time with District 33, he combined the superintendent and principal positions and eliminated several part-time positions to create a business manager position. He said this money went toward other administrative staff salaries and extended custodial and maintenance staff hours.
Machak said he first met Conway when he was working as an assistant principal in District 73.
"I think she's a perfect fit for that position knowing her and her background," he said. "She's going to do really well there. She's a quality person and an excellent educator."