Extra duty for Round Lake High principal
Round Lake High School Principal Donn Mendoza has added responsibilities for the 2015-16 academic year.
Mendoza is among those on a restructured administrative team at Round Lake Area Unit District 116, officials said. In addition to leading the high school, Mendoza has become assistant superintendent of secondary education for grades six through 12.
Now in her sixth year at District 116, Superintendent Constance Collins said the retooled administrative team reflects an emphasis on academic achievement after years of contending with poor finances. District 116 was operated by a state finance authority for eight years until Collins was hired as part of a return to local control.
"We are in a good spot here," Collins said. "We have a lot of the right people on the bus."
Mendoza said he'll continue to be based at Round Lake High but plans to meet weekly with leaders of District 116's two middle schools and visit the buildings. He said his role as assistant superintendent of secondary education will include curriculum and better preparing students in grades six through eight for what lies ahead in high school.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to look at all facets of our program," he said.
Part of the district's new five-year strategic plan calls for 80 percent of pupils in grades three through eight performing at or above college readiness targets in reading and mathematics. Mendoza said sixth grade is an appropriate time for children to begin thinking about career or college opportunities.
"We need kids earlier to start thinking about their futures," he said.
Mendoza said his elementary school experience will help in his role as assistant superintendent of secondary education. He came to Round Lake High from Crystal Lake Elementary District 47, where he was superintendent until resigning in June 2013.
Juan Gardner's departure as Round Lake High's principal opened the door for Mendoza, who became the third principal in three years in 2013. Mendoza will receive help at the high school from two assistant principals.
Collins said the departure of an assistant superintendent led to the administrative restructuring. She said the decision was made to have assistant superintendent posts for elementary and secondary education, which is common for unit districts.
Among the moves was Round Lake Village Elementary School Principal Ana Fuhrer being elevated to assistant superintendent of elementary education. Fuhrer will concentrate on prekindergarten through fifth grade.
Lisa Steffen has been promoted from a high school division chair to principal at John T. Magee Middle School in Round Lake.