LANSING | Two new administrators are joining the staff at Sunnybrook Elementary District 171.
During a special meeting Monday, the School Board approved the hiring of Juan Gardner as Heritage Middle School principal and Gwendolyn M. Jolivette as director of school improvement.
Gardner succeeds former Heritage Principal Michael Keelan, who resigned as of June 30.
A resident of Crete, Gardner thanked the board “for this tremendous opportunity.” He is set to begin work Aug. 12 and will receive an annual salary of $95,000.
Gardner comes to the Lansing-Lynwood school district from Round Lake School District 116, where he served as principal at Round Lake High School for one year.
He has 26 years of experience in the educational field, including 22 years in the Chicago Public Schools system, where he worked as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal and principal. He also spent more than two years as principal at the West Gary Lighthouse Charter School College Prep Academy.
Gardner has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master’s degree in administration and a master’s degree in guidance counseling, both from Chicago State University.
Meanwhile, Jolivette will fill a newly created administrative position and will be paid a salary of $85,000. Her hiring was effective immediately.
She previously was coordinator of early childhood for Matteson Elementary District 162 and also has experience as a college professor, an elementary grade teacher and a consultant, according to information provided by District 171.
Her new assignment will include directing and supervising all curriculum and instruction, professional learning, grants and school improvement.
In a news release, District 171 Superintendent Hughes B. George called Gardner and Jolivette “outstanding candidates.”
“Dr. Jolivette is high energy and takes a no-nonsense approach to her work especially when it affects student learning,” George said in the release. “I am persuaded that her experiences, energy and leadership style will assist the district in moving forward.”
He also spoke of Gardner’s experience in increasing student attendance and graduation rates.
“Mr. Gardner has the experience, capacity and instructional leadership skills that will help ensure that our students are ready for the rigors of high school upon exiting Heritage Middle School,” George said in his prepared statement.