LOCKPORT – A superintendent from Newark has been chosen to lead Fairmont School District 89.
At Tuesday’s special meeting, the District 89 board voted, 6-0, to approve Genevieve Diane Cepela, superintendent for Newark Community Consolidated School District 66, to become the new superintendent. Board member Charles Travis was absent.
Cepela will begin July 1, replacing interim Superintendent Lela Bridges, who was hired last July after the resignation of Sonya Whitaker.
“It’s always been my goal to work there,” Cepela said.
Cepela said she has worked more than 30 years in education and spent the past six years as the superintendent for District 66. She has a doctorate degree from Illinois State University and she did research in what makes schools effective in high poverty areas.
“All of the research will tell us we have shared responsibility for student success and that’s what we’re going to work while I’m there,” Cepela said.
Cepela also served as executive director for Rockford Public Schools District 205 and as a language arts coordinator at Joliet Public Schools District 89, according to a District 89 news release.
Cepela gained familiarity with District 89 through the Professional Development Alliance, an agency of the Regional Offices of Education of Will County and Grundy-Kendall Counties. She served as a educational consultant for PDA from 1990 to 2006.
Since January, a search committee at District 89 has worked on finding a new superintendent. The Illinois Association of School Boards assisted the search committee.
Bridges, along with former interim business manager Teri Shaw, were hired last summer following the resignations of Whitaker and interim business manager David Holm. The board approved terminating Shaw’s contract in January.
The board also approved Tamela Daniels as the new principal in a 6-0 vote. Daniels was previously the principal for the district from 2013 until 2015.
Daniels, along with former assistant principal Marcus Lyke, resigned before the start of the 2015-16 school year. ZaRita Beal, who previously worked for Chicago Public Schools, has been serving as the principal since then.
Daniels was hired back to the district as a curriculum development consultant in December.