Unit 4 Board of Education Approves Three Appointments Monday

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 6:37pm

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Champaign Unit 4 School District announced approval of three appointments during its Board of Education meeting Monday night. Linda Matkowski is the District’s new CFO while Dara’ Fenner is the new assistant principal at Central High School and Brian Alexander-Ward is the new assistant principal of Stratton Academy.

Linda Matkowski Named Unit 4 Chief Financial Officer
Matkowski joins Unit 4 as CFO after serving as the Chief Operating Officer/Chief Compliance Officer at Stern Brothers since 2017. Since 1997, she served in municipal finance, advising public sector entities across the nation, including multiple K-12 and community college clients, on accounting and capital markets transactions. Matkowski supervised and led hundreds of employees and reported directly to CEOs of some of the largest names in the financial services industry, including in positions as Executive Vice President of Fixed Income Capital Markets at City Securities/Stifel Nicholas from 2012-17. Prior to that role, she worked as Managing Director/Manager for the Midwest Region at Raymond James & Associates and as Senior Vice President/Managing Director for Public Finance at PMA Financial . She also worked in executive positions at LaSalle Bank/ABN AMRO and Harris Bank/BMO Capital Markets after beginning her career in the financial field at Norwest Bank, eventually known as Wells Fargo, working her way up to Vice President of Operations when she left in 1996.

Within the education sector, Matkowski spent a large portion of her career volunteering with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on the development of public policies and administrative regulations governing Illinois school finance. She had a substantive role working with ISBE in the development of the financial profile model still used today to explain the financial health of Illinois schools. Matkowski was a frequent speaker and contributor to various state and national educational financial organizations including Illinois Association of School Business Managers (IASBO), Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), and the Council of Development Finance Authorities (CDFA). She served as an elected Illinois school board member for a school district with over 20,000 students from 2002-06 and in 2012, was appointed by ISBE to the State’s Financial Oversight Panel at East St. Louis School District 189. Matkowski holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois (1986). Her appointment is tentatively slated to begin in May.

Dara’ Fenner Named Assistant Principal at Central High School
Fenner moves into the role of Assistant Principal at Central High School after serving as the school’s Dean of Students since Aug. 2018. She began her education career as a Special Education teacher’s assistant and then Special Education Teacher with Guilford County (N.C.) Schools. She taught sixth and seventh grade inclusion/resource for Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools before joining Unit 4 in Aug. 2016 as a Special Education Teacher at Centennial High School. Fenner holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi (2014) and a Master of Education, Policy, Organization and Leadership Diversity and Equity in Education from the University of Illinois (2017). She is currently completing her administrative internship and will earn her administrative license this summer. Fenner’s appointment is effective July 30.

Brian Alexander-Ward Named Assistant Principal of Stratton Academy
Alexander-Ward assumes the role of assistant principal of Stratton Academy after most recently serving as District ED Itinerant Teacher. He also worked in Unit 4 as an ED/Self-Contained teacher at Jefferson Middle School and a Special Education teacher at Barkstall Elementary. He began his career as a Special Education teacher for four years at Washington Elementary School in Clinton (Ill.) and spent five years in Special Education at Mt. Pulaski High School. Prior to joining Unit 4, Alexander-Ward also served as a teacher for special education students at The Pavilion Day School in Champaign. In addition to classroom experience, Alexander-Ward was the Theatre Director at Clinton High School and Heyworth Junior and Senior High Schools. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Deaf Education at Illinois State University (2000) and his LBS1/Special Education certification in Aug. 2003. He will complete his Master of Education in Educational Administration and Leadership at the University of Illinois in May 2020. His appointment at Stratton is effective July 30.

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