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updated: 12/10/2013 7:18 PM

Kaneland hires 2 as interim athletics directors

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  • Tony Valente

    Tony Valente

  • Jeff Schuler

    Jeff Schuler


The Kaneland school board Monday approved paying two people up to $60,000 to fill in the rest of the school year as athletic director at Kaneland High School.

Only board member Tony Valente voted against doing so. He said the compensation was too much.

Leigh Jaffke, who had been athletic director for 14 years, quit unexpectedly in October. Jaffke was paid a base salary of $87,796 in 2011-12 school year, according to the recent administrative salary compensation report posted on the district's website.

The district will pay Ralph Drendel $250 a day, for no more than 100 days, and Rudy Keller $500 a day, for no more than 70 days. Both started the job Nov. 12.

Valente said the school principal could have picked up some of the director duties, and that another staff member could be paid a $5,000 to $10,000 stipend for other duties he characterized as mainly supervising after school.

"I did the job myself as principal in an interim way. It is very difficult, but it is something you can do for six months," said Valente, the principal of Proviso East High School and former Kaneland High principal.

Superintendent Jeff Schuler said in recent years the athletic director has taken on more responsibilities, including evaluating teachers and working on operations and maintenance.

Valente responded: "Mr. Schuler has never been a high school principal." School board President Cheryl Krauspe then banged her gavel to get Valente to stop speaking.

It was also at that point that board member Teresa Witt criticized Valente for repeatedly citing his own background as an educator, to which Valente responded: "Do you even have a job?" Witt then called him a bully.

The Kaneland board, like many other school boards, operates under a public-comment policy that criticism of specific personnel should not be made in public.

Keller is a retired high school principal. He was co-interim principal of West Aurora High School during the 2011 and 2012 school years. Drendel is a retired Kaneland High physical education and drivers education teacher, coach and assistant athletic director.

The district announced in November that a third man, Ross Truemper, would also help fill the position. It is not clear if that has happened. Truemper was the other co-principal with Keller at West Aurora.

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