Board of Education Approves Seven Administrative Appointments

Board of Education Approves Seven Administrative Appointments
Posted on 05/09/2022
Sara Long; Montia Gardner; Liza Thomas; Sylvester “Sonny” Walker and Matthew Johnson

This evening at its regularly meeting, the Unit 4 Board of Education approved seven administrative appointments: 


Mr. Matthew Johnson was named Assistant Director of Transportation. Johnson began his Transportation career in August 2013 as a Vehicle Maintenance Assistant for Oswego CUSD 308 in Oswego, IL. In June 2016, he took a position as a Bus Mechanic for Geneva CUSD 304 in Geneva, IL. After serving 2 years in that role, Mr. Johnson became a Special Needs Supervisor and Dispatcher for Geneva CUSD 304, and held that position for 2 years. Mr. Johnson is currently the Safety and Operations Manager for Geneva CUSD 304. He will leave this position to join Unit 4. 


Ms. Sara Long was appointed as the Associate Principal of Central High School beginning in the 2022-23 school year. Ms. Long began her teaching career when she joined Unit 4 Schools in August 2012 as a Special Education/Cross Categorical Teacher assigned to Central High. She served in this capacity for four school terms. Ms. Long has been an administrator at Central High School since August 2016. She served as a Dean of Students from August 2016 until her appointment as Assistant Principal in August 2018 and then transitioned to Assistant Principal/Summer School Principal in July 2020. Sarah will leave this position to become the next Associate Principal at Central High School.


With the appointment of Sarah Long as Associate Principal at Central High School beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, the position of 12-month Assistant Principal/Summer School Principal became vacant. The Board appointed the current 10-month Assistant Principal Dr. Montia Gardner to internally fill this vacancy. Dr. Gardner began her career in education in 2003 when she joined O.W. Huth Middle School in Matteson, IL where she held positions as a Theatre/Communication Arts Teacher, English Teacher, and Social Studies Teacher. In 2006, Dr. Gardner accepted a position as a 9 th /10 th Grade English and Social Science Teacher at Thea Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary, IN. In 2008, she rejoined O.W. Huth Middle School as a Middle School English and Social Science Facilitator, a position she held for six years. In 2014, Dr. Gardner accepted a 9th Grade English position at Calumet New Tech High School (Turn-Around Program) in Gary, IN. After relocating to Baltimore, MD in 2016, she joined The University of Maryland-Baltimore County as an Adjunct Professor in Education. In 2020, she also joined Community Colleges of Baltimore County as an Adjunct Professor. In 2021, Montia served as the Vice President of Education at Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, MN. In February 2022, she joined Unit 4 as an Assistant Principal of Central High School. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, Montia’s role as Assistant Principal will transition from 10 months to 12 months and she will also become the Summer School Principal.


Ms. Liza Thomas was appointed Associate Principal of Centennial High School for the 2022-23 school year. Ms. Thomas began her career in education as a Special Education Teacher in 1994. She has worked in several school districts outside of Unit 4 including Mt. Pulaski, Illinois; Fairfax County Schools, Virginia; and Des Moines, Iowa. Ms. Thomas joined Unit 4 schools in 2004, where she served as a Cross Categorical Special Education Teacher at Centennial High School and Columbia Center, as an Itinerant Teacher with the Emotional Disabilities Programs, and also served as a certified Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF) Teacher Leader. From 2014-2018, Ms. Thomas served as the Assistant Principal at Barkstall Elementary and from 2018-2019 as an Assistant Principal at Centennial High School. In 2019, Ms. Thomas became the READY Program Director for the Regional Office of Education, a position she held for two years before transitioning into her current position of Grant Coordinator for the Regional Office of Education 9. She has held this position since February 2021. Liza will leave this position to rejoin Unit 4 Schools.


Mr. William (Bill) Behrends was named as the Assistant Principal/Summer School Principal of Centennial High School beginning in the 2022-23 school year. Mr. Behrends began his career in education in August 2006, when he accepted the position of Social Science Teacher with Mattoon High School in Mattoon, IL. In January 2016, Bill joined Unit 4 Schools as a Social Studies Teacher at Centennial High. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school term, Mr. Behrends returned to Mattoon High School as an Instructional Coach. In November 2021, he rejoined Unit 4 Schools as an Assistant Principal of Centennial High. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, Bill’s role as Assistant Principal will transition from 10 months to 12 months and he will also become the Summer SchoolPrincipal.


Dr. Mia Lavizzo was appointed as the Assistant Principal of Centennial High School for the 2022-23 school year. Dr. Lavizzo’s career in education began in 2011, when she joined Unit 4 as a School Social Worker at the Academic (now Novak) Academy, a position she held for one year. In 2017, Mia rejoined Unit 4 as a School Social Worker at Centennial High School. After serving one year in this position, Dr. Lavizzo was appointed as the Dean of Students at Centennial High School. In November 2021, she accepted the position of Director of Mentoring and Community Involvement with Urbana School District 116. In February 2022, Mia rejoined Unit 4 as a Substitute Administrator, where she primarily assisted Centennial High School. 


Mr. Sylvester (Sonny) Walker was appointed as the Assistant Principal at Centennial High School. A life-long resident of Champaign, former Unit 4 student, and graduate of Centennial High, Mr. Walker began his teaching career at Centennial as a Physical Education teacher in October 2006. During this time, he also served as a Boys’ Basketball Assistant Coach and Administrator for the Day, when needed. From February 2019 through the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Mr. Walker supported students and the District as a Dean at BTW STEM Academy. Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, he served as Dean of Students at Edison Middle School. After serving three years in this role, Sonny will leave this position to become the Assistant Principal at Centennial High.

 

(Photo l-r: Sara Long; Montia Gardner; Liza Thomas; Sylvester “Sonny” Walker and Matthew Johnson; Not photographed: Mia Lavizzo and William “Bill” Behrends)

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