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Article updated: 11/13/2012 6:27 PM

South Elgin principal joins U-46 central office

By Larissa Chinwah

A longtime Elgin Area School District U-46 educator who worked her way up from the classroom to administration has been tapped as the district's new assistant superintendent of human resources.

Melanie Meidel, principal at South Elgin High School since 2008, will take on the role effective Nov. 26. She will continue to work at the high school one day per week as she makes the transition, Superintendent Jose Torres said in a recent weekly newsletter.

In an email to parents, Meidel called the decision "extremely difficult."

"I can't say I am ready to leave, I did not have this on my radar, yet I can say I am ready to take on this huge challenge to benefit all schools," Meidel wrote in the email. "I love what I do, I love working with a group of people who enjoy coming to work every day and making a difference in students' lives, I love watching students make a difference in our lives every day."

The position puts Meidel in charge of 5,000 employees across 60 buildings. Her base salary will be about $140,000.

Meidel began her career in the district in 1996 as a physical and health education teacher at Elgin High School. She then moved to Larkin High School where she was a teacher in the school's Visual and Performing Arts Academy from 1997 to 2002.

In the fall of 2002, Meidel returned to Elgin High School as athletic director and division chairwoman for physical education and drivers education, until 2005 when she was named assistant principal at South Elgin High School.

Retired U-46 principals Sue Welu and Dave Smiley will step in as interim principals at South Elgin High School. Meidel will fill the role that was vacated when Debbie Zelinski resigned from the position last year. Zielinski was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons and later resigned.

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