Riverside Public School District 96 hires three new administrators

RIVERSIDE – A new administrative position created within Riverside Public School District 96 should help principals and staff members focus on issues pertaining to their respective schools, officials said.

During their May 21 meeting, members of the District 96 Board of Education approved hiring of Brian Ganan to serve as director of academic excellence. Ganan is principal of Juliette Low Elementary School in Arlington Heights, part of Community Consolidated School District 59. The board also approved hiring Peter Gatz as principal of Central Elementary School and Todd Gierman as principal of Ames School.

“I was very pleased — very very pleased,” said Mary Rose Mangia, president of the District 96 school board. “I was not personally involved in the interview process, but I went with the recommendation of the incoming superintendent and the other board members who were involved. In particular, I felt the two principals have a lot of years of experience and have strengths in special education.”

Bhavna Sharma-Lewis will succeed Jon Lamberson as District 96’s superintendent. Lamberson resigned Monday after serving as superintendent for eight years to become the superintendent of a school district in Wisconsin.

Gatz will succeed retiring Principal Janice Limperis at Central. He is the assistant principal at Gregory Middle School in Naperville, part of Indian Prairie School District 204.

Gierman will succeed retiring Principal Colleen Lieggi at Ames. He is the assistant principal of Burnham Elementary School, part of Cicero Public School District 99.

Even though she won’t begin working in the district until July 1, Sharma-Lewis was part of an interview committee that selected the candidates. She said the goal of creating the position of director of academic excellence was to raise the bar at District 96 when it comes academic performance.

According to information provided by District 96, Ganan will evaluate the English language arts/literacy and math curricula to ensure it is aligned with the Common Core Standards being implemented by the state for the 2014-15 school year. The principals have been involved with curriculum issues to some extent, and having an administrator who can focus on this will allow the principals to concentrate on other important matters, Mangia said.

“We feel it will help us with fine-tuning our curriculum and continue to keep District 96 up there for core offerings,” Mangia said. “We will be prepared to meet new standards in 2014.”

Ganan will ensure the Common Core Standards are implemented consistently throughout district schools, Sharma-Lewis said. A new teacher and principal evaluation system will put into effect statewide within the next couple of years, and Ganan also will oversee this process, she said.

Ganan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and secondary education from the University of Iowa and a Master of Science degree in educational leadership from DePaul University. In addition, he earned a doctorate in educational leadership and organization change as well as his Illinois Superintendent Endorsement from Roosevelt University.

Gatz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Carroll University. He also earned a Master of Arts degrees in teaching and reading instruction as well as his Administrative Certificate from Aurora University.

Gierman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Governors State University. He also earned master of arts degrees in curriculum and instruction as well as educational administration from GSU.