Lincoln School principal resigns


MENDOTA – After 22 years with District 289, Vicki Johnson, Lincoln School principal has resigned. The news was made public at the District's June 20 meeting.

"I was planning on retiring from here," Johnson said at a later date.

Showing support for her friend, Tina Musgrove addressed her concerns to the board over Johnson's resignation. Musgrove acknowledged the board members for their commitment and service they are providing to the community, but challenged them to the take the time to look at their motives for being on the school board. "Ask yourself, 'Why am I truly a board member? Am I fulfilling my duties as a board member? Do I believe I am being informed accurately about issues within my district? Do I know the needs of the students, district employees, and my community,'" she questioned.

Musgrove also felt that there was a lack of concern from the superintendent and board members over the reasons for Johnson's resignation. "My hope is that through these conversations, you as a board will come to realize that there are some issues within the district that need to be addressed," Musgrove continued.

An outpouring of support on social media from parents and co-workers have testified to the positive impact Johnson has made over the years.

Prior to serving District 289, Johnson began her career as a special education teacher with Malden Schools where she taught for six years. She then taught special education at Northbrook School for eight years before serving as assistant principal for three years. Johnson's last 11 years have been dedicated to being the principal at Lincoln School.

During her career, she has helped her staff become better teachers, learned the names of every student, and worked countless hours for the children of this community.

After an hour-long closed session, the board accepted Johnson's resignation, effective June 30, with board member Theresa Komitas abstaining.

"These kids were my life and I never thought I'd be leaving here. But I wasn't happy with things that transpired this year and I didn't want to be a part of it. It is not who I am," commented Johnson on her reasons for resigning.

Johnson is not ending her career yet. She will be teaching at Circuit Breaker School in Peru. "The principal there is amazing and I want to know that I am going to work for someone that is supportive and passionate about kids because that is what I still want to do," she said.

David Lawrence will replace Johnson as the new Lincoln School principal with a one year contract beginning July 1, at a salary of $72,000 plus benefits.

Theresa Komitas then provided a summary report of the Exit Interview Committee and its progress. Almost complete, the exit interview will consist of 13 questions and be offered to any district employee leaving the district. Past employees will also be invited to participate in the survey. The committee plans on working on an annual employee satisfaction survey, as well.

Other items:

School provided an overview of the budget from FY19 showing the district ending the year $577,059 in the black.  This was due to the following: State paid revenue on time, revenue not budgeted but received from Lee County sales tax, revenue budgeted in O & M but not spent on projects or needed for repairs, and revenue earned in interest for working cash bonds that was not budgeted nor anticipated, and several positions that were either not filled or filled by subs.

The board approved increasing their credit card limit at First State Bank from $15,000 to $25,000. Kristen School, superintendent noted the increase in online shopping warranted the need.

Employment approvals for 2019-2020 include: Emily Pearson as Northbrook Social Worker for 2019-2020 with salary at $42,312, Hallie Monroe as district Nurse with salary at $38,684, and Jason March as IT director for 2019-2020 with salary at $58,728.

One-time stipends for Traci Jones, Kelly Knaff, Julia Miller and Patty Nunez were approved for their assistance with special medical needs required by students.

Other new hires included: Kristine Blunk as Northbrook paraprofessional, Leesa Fitch as Lincoln special education paraprofessional, and Melissa Winn as Northbrook paraprofessional.

Guy VonHoff was approved as full-time day custodian at Northbrook and Tom Glazebrook as groundskeeper.

Northbrook's new soccer program will kick off with Maria Arteaga as head coed soccer coach with stipend of $800 and Tom Slater as assistant coed soccer coach with stipend of $600.

The next regular board meeting is set for Thursday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the District 289 Education Center.

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