West Aurora Unit District 129 board approves four new administrators

Superintendent Jeff Craig and West Aurora Unit District 129 board recently announce the appointment of four new administrators for the 2024-25 school year. The appointments were approved during the regular board meeting on April 1.

Leading the list of appointments is Cheryl Hellyer, who brings a wealth of experience to her role as department administrator for art, music, physical education, and health, focusing on kindergarten through fifth grade.

Department administrators will provide leadership and oversight of a specific content area, managing staff, curriculum development, and ensuring compliance with district policies to enhance student learning.

Throughout her tenure spanning six years as a music teacher at Smith Elementary School, alongside the recent academic year in the role of elementary music facilitator, Hellyer has showcased dedication to instructional leadership and curriculum development.

Prior to her current role, Hellyer served as a long-term substitute in Saint Charles School District 303 and gained valuable experience as a paraprofessional in the extended school year program in Yorkville School District 115.

Hellyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Augustana College and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from Aurora University.

“I am extremely grateful to the colleagues and mentors who have contributed to my growth throughout my time in West Aurora and I am looking forward to collaborating with more of our amazing staff,” stated Hellyer. “I recognize the impact our elementary art, music and PE teachers have on our diverse community of learners, and I am honored and excited for the opportunity to continue supporting these teams.”

Justin McIntosh

Next is Justin McIntosh, the newly appointed principal of Schneider Elementary School. Since 2022, McIntosh has served as the assistant principal of Goodwin Elementary School, where his responsibilities have included facilitating professional learning opportunities for staff, leading targeted student interventions, and conducting teacher evaluations.

Before his role as an assistant principal, McIntosh served as an elementary teacher in Naperville Unit District 203, where he excelled in implementing engaging lesson plans, monitoring student progress, and contributing to the school improvement team. His educational journey began as a teacher and then instructional coach at Millwood Learning Academy, where he provided invaluable support to teachers in implementing the curriculum.

McIntosh holds a Bachelor of Science in child and family studies from Eastern Kentucky University and a Master of Science in educational leadership and administration from George Washington University.

Reflecting on his appointment, McIntosh stated, “As a student and then educator, I have benefited from strong educational leadership that prioritized equitable outcomes for all, and it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to have a similar impact within a school community as wonderful as Schneider. I look forward to beginning my time as a Bulldog!”

Cynthia Ramos

Also appointed is Cynthia Ramos, who is set to assume the role of department administrator for Spanish literacy, newcomer, and bilingual programming, focusing on kindergarten through grade five. Currently, Ramos serves as a bilingual interventionist at Hall Elementary School, where she delivers targeted instruction to kindergarten through grade five multilingual learners in math, Spanish literacy, and English phonics.

Before her current role, Ramos taught fourth-grade sheltered and first-grade dual language classes in East Aurora Unit District 131. She differentiated instruction effectively, implemented a positive classroom culture, and actively contributed to school improvement initiatives as a member of the school leadership team.

With a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from North Central College, along with minors in English language learning and Spanish, Ramos brings a wealth of educational expertise and linguistic proficiency to her new role.

“I am very excited to take on this new role and committed to supporting our teachers and multilingual learners in School District 129,” Ramos said. “I would like to express my gratitude to the many educators who have mentored me along the way.”

Shannon Walsh

Finally, Shannon Walsh will take the role of administrator for professional learning partnerships. In this newly created position, Walsh will play a crucial role in supporting the strategic goals of the professional learning department and the district by coordinating logistics and partnerships internally and externally, including clinical placements, university initiatives, professional learning for noncertified staff, substitutes, and parent mentors.

In her current post as an instructional resident at West Aurora High School, Walsh has demonstrated her commitment to professional development by creating and delivering tailored learning opportunities for staff and departments. Additionally, Walsh’s time as a substitute dean has equipped her with valuable skills in student behavior management and intervention strategies.

Walsh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Carthage College as well as a Master of Arts in educational leadership from Aurora University.

“I have loved my time at West Aurora High School and am so grateful for the opportunity to continue working in School District 129 in a new capacity,” Walsh said. “I love this community and am looking forward to all that comes with this role.”

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