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New principals named for Morton East, West high schools

Morton West and East high schools will have new leaders at the helm at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

The School District 201 Board of Education appointed Rodolfo Hernandez as principal of Morton East High School and Joshua J. McMahon as principal of Morton West High School when the board met for its regular meeting April 9.

Hernandez, previously the principal of the Morton Alternative School, has worked for District 201 since 1991. Hernandez has served as interim principal at East since former Morton East Principal Frank Zarate was assigned to a new position within the district as director of special projects.

Morton Superintendent Michael Kuzniewski said Hernandez has maintained a positive relationship the Cicero community and has been a strong advocate for a "seamless educational path that spans pre-kindergarten though college for the community’s children."

In response to the announcement, Hernandez said he would be a good fit for the student community and said he understood some of the challenges students face. According to Hernandez, as an immigrant from Mexico, he has experienced the challenges of being a second-language learner and was the only member of his family to graduate from college.

Hernandez earned his undergraduate degree form North Park University and his master's degree from Chicago State University. He completed a post-master’s degree at Lewis University, where he obtained administrative endorsements.

During his tenure at the Morton Alternative School, Hernandez was responsible for the development of the district’s Response to Intervention model to provide academic support to all students.

“Mr. Hernandez has a strength or aura about himself that allows him to pull people together and work toward a shared vision,” Kuzniewski said.

McMahon, who previously served as assistant principal of Morton West, was hired by District 201 in 2010. Kuzniewski said McMahon was an energetic, enthusiastic administrator who has devoted himself to the students and staff of Morton West High School.

McMahon was responsible for the Freshman Academy at Morton West for the past three years. He developed many community ties in his current position by assisting with student's transition from eighth into the high school, according to administrators. McMahon has also collaborated with all four schools that send their eighth grade students to Morton West as freshmen.

McMahon is replacing long serving Principal Joe Gunty, who will retire at the end of this school year after working for 30 years with District 201.

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