The music in Mokena School District 159 has stopped.
Following the resignation of former music program teacher Jessica Maffia in May, the other half of the music department in the district, Jennifer Thomas, has also resigned. The departure of the two teachers leaves D159 without any teachers in the music department.
Thomas and Maffia were responsible for all band, choir and music classes in the district, traveling between buildings throughout the day to complete their schedules. Superintendent Steve Stein said that Thomas' resignation was not a surprise, and that she is leaving to pursue a doctorate in music education.
“She's planning on going back to school for [music education] and earning a doctorate, and ultimately teaching at the collegiate level,” Stein said. “So, it really wasn't out of the blue.”
Stein said there is “no timeline” for when the district will hire new teachers for the two full-time positions, as well as a newly created parttime position, but that job listings are already posted.
“We have those positions posted right now, and we're currently collecting applications for it,” Stein said. “We should hopefully be moving on that in the not too distant future, getting those positions filled. … There's no timeline, but we want to have those positions filled as soon as possible.”
He added that the positions will be similar to those vacated by Thomas and Maffia, but the addition of a third, parttime faculty member should reduce the travel between buildings.
Stein continued that he doesn't expect the program to suffer with the loss of both teachers, and the hiring of three new teachers.
“Any time you have this kind of turnover, of course it's a little concerning,” he said. “The program is the program, it will continue to exist. We will still continue to have tremendous support from our parents for the program. I think that we will be able to hire people who are highly qualified and motivated to continue to keep the program as strong as it has ever been.”
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