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H-F board hires new director of operations and maintenance

The District 233 School Board hired James Patterson to take over as director of operations and maintenance when Tom Wagner, the current director, retires in December after more than 40 years with the district.

The board accepted the recommendation of school administrators at the board’s Oct. 19 meeting. Patterson will be paid $120,000 annually. He is currently associate director of physical plant at Olivet Nazarene University.

Superintendent-elect Scott Wakeley said Wagner was part of the interview team helping those involved understand the technical aspects of the job.

“No one can actually replace Tom,” Wakeley said. “We think Mr. Patterson has all the skillsets to carry out the legacy and expectations” of the position.


Wakeley said Patterson has been responsible for 32 buildings on the university’s campus and works with a staff of 50 people. He’s overseen remodeling and building projects, and worked regularly with the staff of the Chicago Bears when the team held its training sessions there. Patterson is technically trained in HVAC operations.

Superintendent Von Mansfield said Wagner will be honored before he leaves, but board member Steve Anderson wanted Wagner to know how much he appreciated his honesty, respect and dignity. “You’re a fantastic human being and a hard worker,” Anderson told him.

Other board business

The board signed an agreement with Prairie State College that will give H-F students who struggled their junior year the opportunity to complete transitional English courses. With successful completion at H-F, the student will have the opportunity to move into English 101 at PSC without additional testing. This is a pilot program that follows guidelines set by the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The board signed a memo of understanding with the Homewood-Flossmoor Educational Organization, the teachers union on campus, spelling out several details on teachers’ work that has changed due to the pandemic, such as wearing masks on campus, cleaning of classrooms during passing periods and taking on bathroom supervision.

A second memo of understanding between HFEO and District 233 deals with additional time and responsibilities that are part of the district’s Viking Compass Advisory period, a program dedicated to “time and space for teachers to build developmental relationships with students in a smaller classroom environment.”

The board agreed to the natatorium roof recoating project, estimated at between $300,000-$350,000; baseball and softball infield turf projects, estimated at $850,000-$1.5 million; softball field lighting project, estimated at between $250,000-$300,000.

The board appointed five parents to serve on the Parent/Teacher Discipline Committee: Dominik Gibek, Marquita Harwell, Theodore Holloway, Sandra Rogers, Ronald Zinnerman. Teachers on the committee are Dana Noble, Catherine Ross-Cook and Kelsey Sopron, with dean Catherine Brown.

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