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Two alumni fill leadership roles in school district in southwest Chicago

By Lauren Zumbach

Consolidated High School District 230 looked to its own administrators, teachers and alumni to fill three leadership roles at Sandburg High School and Stagg High School.

Deb Baker, Stagg's associate principal, will take the helm at Sandburg next fall, replacing current principal Julia Wheaton. Wheaton was named Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources last month. Jennifer Tyrrell, chair of the physical education, health and drivers education division at Stagg, will fill Baker's position as Stagg's associate principal and Derrick Smith, chair of Sandburg's English and music division, was appointed associate principal at Sandburg.

The school board unanimously approved the three hires during a meeting at Stagg High School in Palos Hills Thursday.
Baker is returning to Sandburg, where she taught English and chaired the English and music division after joining District 230 in 2001. She has since served as assistant principal at Andrew High School and associate principal at Stagg.

"She has an outstanding record working with staff, students and the community," said Superintendent James Gay.
Baker also taught in Chicago Public Schools and the De La Salle Institute in Chicago prior to joining District 230. She earned her master's degree in educational administration and bachelor's degree in the teaching of English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, district officials said.

"It's great to have someone at who knows the district and has experience at all three of our schools," said school board president Rick Nogal.

Smith, a Sandburg alumnus who returned to the school in 2005 to teach English, will join Baker in Sandburg's administration as associate principal next fall. He will take over for Trish Gilkas, who is retiring after 31 years at Sandburg, district officials said.
Smith, Sandburg's Division Chair for English and Music, has also supervised the student newspaper and coached the freshman baseball team. He is pursuing a doctorate in literacy, language and culture from the University of Illinois at Chicago, holds a master's degree in educational organization and leadership and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in secondary education from St. Xavier University, district officials said.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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