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updated: 8/16/2012 2:48 PM

Changes keep coming in U-46 administration

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  • Ushma Shah

    Ushma Shah

  • Barbara Johnson

    Barbara Johnson


The organizational chart in Elgin Area School District U-46 has undergone a number of changes with administrators shifting roles and a new hire filling a key vacancy, while other positions remain open or have been eliminated.

In addition to new principals and administrators previously announced, the district also has named Ushma Shah as the assistant superintendent of elementary education for instruction and equity, and Barbara Johnson as assistant superintendent of secondary education for instruction and equity, district chief of staff Tony Sanders said. The salary for each position is $155,000.

"It seems like more (changes) than most years, but that's due in part to the number of retirements we had," Sanders said. "We lose people every year, but I don't think this is anymore than other years."

Shah, who served as the district's first chief of equity and social justice during the 2011-2012 school year, replaces Carmen Rodriguez, who retired. Meanwhile, Johnson replaces Greg Walker, who accepted a regional vice president position with the College Board's Midwest office.

A news release from the district says Shah previously worked as a consultant in the Chicago and Sacramento public school districts, chaired a committee with the Illinois State Board of Education and taught elementary school in Chicago.

Johnson, who was initially hired as the elementary assistant superintendent, has an extensive background at schools in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. where she held specialist and principal positions. She also taught middle and high school English and served as an adjunct professor at Trinity University in Washington, D.C., a news release from U-46 states.

The district does plan to fill the position of chief of equity and social justice, Sanders said. Administrators are in the process of reviewing the job description, Sanders said. The role drew the ire of several residents who spoke out against the need for the position during several board meetings.

A search for a chief of human resources failed to produce a suitable candidate, Sanders said. There are no plans to fill the position, which was vacated in the spring after the former chief, Deborah Zelinski, was placed on administrative leave and subsequently resigned, Sanders said.

Instead, Lisa Jensen, the district's director of human resources will oversee the department and report to chief operations officer Jeff King. Sanders would not elaborate on reasons for Zelinski's resignation but has said no criminal activity was involved. The role has been removed from the organizational chart.

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