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Dist. 159 Shake-Up: Perry Out as Mokena Superintendent, Stein In

Mokena Elementary School Principal Steve Stein was named interim superintendent of District 159 in a unanimous board vote Thursday night.

Superintendent Karen Perry will spend the last 10 months of her three-year contract as an assistant to the new superintendent.

In a unanimous decision Thursday night, the school board reassigned Perry as an assistant to the superintendent until June 30, 2012, when her contract expires. Perry did not attend Thursday's board meeting.

The board named Principal Steve Stein the new interim superintendent.

"Interim is just that: interim," board President John Troy said.

Troy said the board will consider a permanent replacement at some point in the future. Whether that will be Stein, Troy could not say.

"This has all happened one step at a time so we have to go into closed session and discuss these things," Troy said.

Stein's job as principal will be taken over by Assistant Principal Chris Clavenna. Stein said his pay will stay as it was as principal until a permanent contract as superintendent is negotiated.

Clavenna said the district will post a job opening for her position.

Perry wrote the school board on July 21 saying she planned not to return to the district for the 2012-2013 school year. She started with the district July 1, 2009, with a contract running through June 30, 2012.

The Illinois State Board of Education’s Teacher Service Record for the 2009-2010 school year listed Perry’s salary as $140,728.51.

She will keep that salary in her newly created position of assistant to the superintendent. Her new duties include acting as the liaison to the Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools' Truancy Office, assuming an interim principal's duties during absences, coordinating and managing lunchroom supervision and assisting with supervising athletic and extracurricular events.

A full list of Perry's new duties is included in the photographs with this article.

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Under Perry, the district tried for . Each failed.

Stein said one of his goals will be to bring back extracurricular activities.

"I think we need to look at how we can go about working with the community and bring some of those things back," he said, later adding, "(A referendum) is not anything that the board is discussing right now."

Stein said one of his priorities will be to reconnect the district and the larger Mokena community, in part by working with the village board, park district and other local stakeholders.

"I think there's a feeling in the community that there's a disconnect between the school district and the community," he said. "I think through the whole process of the referendum ... it seems that there was kind of an element of misunderstanding."

Read "Dist. 159 Shake Up: New Superintendent, New Principal, 11 Days Until School Starts" to find out how Stein and Clavenna are preparing for their new roles on a tight timeframe.

LaVerne Lathus August 12, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Great Choice!! Mr. Stien is a Great Guy, and leader, the perfect choice in helping to reconnect as a community!! He has been through this with us and seen just what our children have lost due to this down turn in funding from our State, I think he will make a GREAT Superintendent... BEST OF LUCK to you MR. STEIN!!
Steve August 12, 2011 at 03:07 PM
I agree with LaVerne Mr Stein is the right choice.
Mike August 12, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Congrats to the new School Board on a great decision. They have a lot of work to do, but it is obviously that they are willing to make the hard decisions.
kimberly perch August 12, 2011 at 11:42 PM
While I applaud the boards decision to oust Perry and select Stein, I'm wondering how there is enough money to do this and not enough money to have extra curriculars?
FedUp August 13, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Mr. Stein is only an interim replacement. What happens if someone else is hired next year? Back to the old positions? This move is just a waste of more money and shows that the school board doesn't have a clue to deal with a deficit. Ms. Perry continues to be paid while Mr. Stein and Ms. Clavenna receive raises for their new responsibilities. The school board must be learning from our so called leaders in Washington D.C.
Thoughtful Citizen August 18, 2011 at 07:35 PM
Good admin moves Board. I have one issue. I heard that Mr. Markham owned up to his breech of ethics with a non apology and a promise to do it again. His actions can land 159 in litigation. Where is the article or mention of this in this newspaper? Was it left out because Mr. Markham shared it with the Patch? I know this is big news, but that news was just as big.
FedUp August 19, 2011 at 04:00 AM
Now there's a proposed budget with a deficit of over $933,000. The disease from Washington D.C. has spread to Mokena.

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