District 153 awards tenure to seven teachers, extends contracts to 56 faculty

The District 153 school board on April 8 awarded contracts to 56 faculty and approved tenure for seven staff members.

Tenure was awarded to Tiffany Bailey, seventh grader teacher at James Hart School; Christopher Blankenship, seventh grader teacher at James Hart; Emma Dolan, fifth grade teacher at Churchill School; Melinda DuBose, sixth grader teacher at James Hart; and Jodi Klyn, PE teacher at Willow School; John Lewis, third grade teacher at Churchill; and Payton White, third grade teacher at Churchill. They all have been with the district for four years. 

The board also awarded accelerated tenure to Jennifer Perkins-Ermshler, social-emotional learning teacher, and Colleen Spain, special education resource teacher, who have completed three years with the district. Their outstanding work was recognized with accelerated tenure.

The 49 teachers who have worked one, two or three years at Willow, Churchill and James Hart School had their contracts extended.

The board also accepted the resignation of Churchill School Principal Sara Schnoor and three Churchill School teachers.

Also at the April 8 board meeting, four teacher contracts were not renewed. Two Black teachers whose contracts were not renewed addressed the board alleging they were discriminated against. The board would not comment on the teachers’ allegations because they are a personnel matter. 

Both teachers had been at Willow School for three years. They allege they faced a hostile work environment. One said she received a racist note during her second year but claimed the administration did not act on her concern. She said the district failed in its efforts for diversity, equity and inclusion. The other teacher alleged she was the target of harassment and discrimination “for being vocal” and believes her efforts for Willow improvements were sabotaged.

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