Superintendent's Message, 3.02.2016

Among the actions the KCSD96 Board of Education took at their March 1, 2016, meeting is their appointment of new elementary principals for Country Meadows and Kildeer Countryside Elementary Schools. On August 1, 2016, Ms. Allison Slade will assume responsibilities as Country Meadows principal and Ms. Vail Kieser will do so at Kildeer Countryside.

Ms. Allison Slade is eager to begin her new role and brings to Country Meadows diverse and multilayered experience from the elementary classroom, as an administrator, and as a recognized leader.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

Most recently–and for over a decade–she was the founding principal and executive director of the Namaste School in Chicago, where her responsibilities included teachers’ professional development, staff recruitment and evaluation, strategic planning, and parent community engagement. Under her leadership Namaste became a highly recognized school.

Her professional background includes balanced literacy training, coaching, and mentoring for elementary Chicago Public School teachers through the University of Chicago Center for Urban School Improvement. Her earliest years as an educator were spent in a Houston classroom as a bilingual teacher of kindergartners and first graders.

She is committed to developing the whole child and believes strongly in the value of professional and community partnerships aligned with children’s learning needs. Experience has shown her that active, collaborative engagement with her teachers benefits student instruction and guides meaningful professional development.

I see Ms. Slade as a great fit for KCSD96 and Country Meadows. We feel fortunate to have found this passionate educator who is so eager to work with our Country Meadows students, families, and faculty. With over 80 applications received and a long and rigorous interview process to navigate, Ms. Slade distinguished herself as a confident and highly qualified leader genuinely excited to help all her students succeed.

Ms. Slade follows Ms. Kathryn Sheridan, who has served Country Meadows students, staff, and families as principal since Aug. 2010. On July 1, Ms. Sheridan will become the director of language and early literacy for KCSD96, overseeing programming for our Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) and biliterate students, facilitating early literacy efforts, and mentoring new principals–including Ms. Slade.

Ms. Vail Kieser is a familiar face district wide, as she has served our learning community in a variety of meaningful ways since she came to District 96 in August 2007. In a field of over 80 applicants, she shines.

Ms. Kieser’s experience here began at Country Meadows as a bilingual teacher her first year and a 3rd-grade teacher the next. She then taught 3rd graders at Kildeer for three years, where she worked to define and refine curriculum and led her team of grade-level colleagues.

In August 2012 she embraced a new opportunity to extend learning for Prairie children and their teachers. She began serving as Prairie’s technology coach, helping teachers with daily integration of technology into their curriculum and classrooms and supporting professional development district wide as a facilitator of elementary and middle school technology coaches.

Her commitment as a lifelong learner led Ms. Kieser to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership and to pursue an administrative opportunity: in August 2014, she became assistant principal at Woodlawn Middle School. Coinciding with the 1:1 implementation of iPads, her background in technology serves Woodlawn students and staff well. Her current role as assistant principal includes problem solving collaboratively with students as well as evaluating staff and defining areas for their professional growth.

As superintendent, I most enjoy the time I spend in District 96 schools and classrooms, where the leadership, teaching, and learning I see and hear confirms that we are working together optimally to meet the needs of every child. I know that Ms. Kieser brings not only years of varied and relevant experience to her new role as Kildeer principal, but also a personal, long-standing commitment to supporting a community of learners in which students and teachers thrive.

Ms. Kieser's predecessor at Kildeer - Mrs. Jennifer Smith - will become principal of Willow Grove effective August 2016, following the retirement of current Willow Grove principal Dr. Barbara Cirigliano.

The work to find the highly qualified candidate to succeed Ms. Kieser as assistant principal at Woodlawn Middle School is underway.