As school year nears, second assistant principal named at Parker

Flossmoor District 161’s board of education took another step toward bringing a stronger administrative team to Parker Junior High School when members approved the appointment of Rebecca Williams as a second assistant principal at the school.

  Rebecca Williams

Board members unanimously approved the hiring at the July 10 meeting, also discussing what Parker's overall improvement plan should look like.

A Park Forest native, Williams joins District 161 after serving 13 years as a science, social studies and mathematics intervention teacher in Marquardt District 15 in Glendale Heights. She also coached volleyball for boys and girls at Marquardt Middle School.

“I feel strongly about her ability to make a strong contribution to Parker Junior High School,” said Superintendent Dana Smith.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Francis, majoring in elementary education with middle school teaching endorsements in science, social studies, and language arts. She also has two master’s degrees from Benedictine University, one in literacy education and another in leadership and administration. 

“This is a nice opportunity to come back to the South Suburbs,” Williams said.  “I am excited about joining the team at Parker.”

Williams’ appointment follows the May hiring of Jennifer Hartman as the other assistant principal and the April selection of Fred Hunter as the new principal at Parker.

The new administrative trio, along with Smith -- who officially started as superintendent in June – is taking the helm of a school that had a succession of leadership changes over the past year. Many parents have been concerned about the academic performance and revolving door at Parker.

Board member Cameron Nelson asked about Parker of both his colleagues and Smith, “What’s the plan?”  

Nelson is seeking to establish goals for the junior high as early as next month. Other board members expressed the desire to harness the early positive reaction to changes at Parker.

“This will be the greatest year ever,” Board member Carolyn Griggs said. “Everybody is excited.” She suggested the district has an opportunity to create more excitement.

“We should have a pep rally,” Griggs said.

Stephen Paredes stated, “We need an enthusiastic rollout” of changes, goals and building improvements.

Board President Michelle Hoereth added, “We need some sort of a vision statement.”

While optimistic that better days are ahead at Parker, Smith reminded the board a “collaborative approach” to setting goals is needed; the new administration is just now starting and teachers won’t start until August.

“We will get the administration into the community,” Smith said, adding there will be compelling goals. 

“We will get our story out,” Smith said.

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