H-F board names Jim Schmidt assistant principal

The District 233 school board appointed Jim Schmidt assistant principal at Homewood-Flossmoor High School at its Tuesday, May 16, meeting.

Jim Schmidt

Schmidt has been at H-F for 19 years. He joined the staff in 2004 to lead the Seminar Program, a special class to provide students additional support. He was in that position for two years before moving to a position as counselor for three years. He became chair of the Guidance Department 14 years ago.

In addition, Schmidt coached various boys and girls track teams from 2004 until 2020. 

The North Building principal’s position will be filled by Craig Fantin, associate principal who currently serves in the South Building. Schmidt will fill his slot in the South Building. Fantin first came to H-F as a math teacher in 2001, shifted to a dean of students position and then assistant principal. Fantin left District 233 in 2017 and returned in 2019 as associate principal.

Clinton Alexander is concluding his first year as principal. Shannon Swilley, who was appointed associate principal in 2022 responsible for residency issues, school registration, and student recognition programs is shifting his focus to curriculum and instruction.

The administrative team works under Superintendent Scott Wakeley who is completing his second year with District 233.

The board agreed to make the Career and Technical Education Department chair job a 12-month position. It had been a nine-month position. Wakeley said the person in that position will not only be responsible for the academic programs, but also will be expected to do outreach to businesses acting as a program liaison and helping establish relationships that can lead to student internships and job placements. The person also will be responsible for grants.

Paula Leuder, who has been Fantin’s assistant, is moving to the Human Resources department as human resources specialist. Victoria Koblick, currently the human resources specialist, will be filling the director of alumni relations spot when Ann Cherry retires June 30.

In other business, the board agreed to a $2.5 million contract reflecting an 8.5% increase in the 2023-24 contract with Kickert Bus and Alpha Bus companies for the coming school year. The board extended the contract with Quest Food Management Services at $200,000 — $50,000 as a management fee and $150,000 to cover increased food costs, equipment replacement and supplies. The board agreed to increase the contract expenses to eliminate price increases for student lunches.

The board voted for an $84,708.40 contract reflecting a 4% increase for Athletico, the contractor providing athletic training services. RJB Properties Inc., the cleaning service for the district, will receive a 5% increase for a total contract of $1.38 million.

The board also approved the transfer of $20 million from the working cash fund to the capital projects fund. The district borrowed the money to cover improvements in the culinary department and to build a new science wing. Moving the funds will allow the district to pay expenses for those projects. The board is expected to bid the work on those projects in the next month with work starting in the fall.

The request for $867,514 for the Technology Department was approved. The funding will cover the cost of Chrome books for the incoming freshman class, updates to teachers’ computers and security improvements including video surveillance. 

The board also agreed to go with Mindsight, an outside contractor for continuous technology security monitoring at a cost of $4,600 a month rather than fill the vacant cyber security position.

Steve Richardson, director of technology, said Mindsight will mean “someone monitoring our network, reacting to any threats, patches, etc. We can’t accomplish that with our staff. The school is very dependent on technology and having that technology always running.” He said Mindsight will provide “better coverage, better security and giving us coverage and allowing us to focus on other things.” 

This service will complement Crowd Strike, which Richardson said “is great for crime prevention, but it’s a reactive service. This one is 24/7 365 days a year.”

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