New Principals, Executive Director of Student Services Named

The Board of Education has approved the hiring of three key leadership positions in District 34 – the Executive Director of Student Services, Principal of Pleasant Ridge and Principal of Westbrook. All three candidates will begin with the district on July 1.   
 
Student Services
Mary Geraghty was recommended by incoming Superintendent Dr. Dane Delli to be the Executive Director of Student Services. In her role, she will be responsible for all special education programs and services, providing professional development for all special education staff, serving as the liaison with the North Shore Special Education District (NSSED), and overseeing the early childhood program.
 
Geraghty most recently served as the Director of Special Education at Community Unit School District 308 in Oswego, a district she has been in since 2013. Prior to her work in District 308, she was the Assistant Principal of Student Services/Special Education Division Head at Buffalo Grove High School in Township High School District 214 for three years.
 
Geraghty spent a considerable amount of her career in Community Consolidated School District 15 in Palatine, having first been hired as a teacher in 1993 and, in 2006, moving on to serve as an Assistant Principal first at Kimball Hill School and then at Conyers Learning Academy.  She earned her bachelor’s of science degree from Northern Illinois University, her master’s degree in special education from Northeastern Illinois University, and her Type 75 certification from Concordia University.
 
“It was critical to fill this position with someone who clearly demonstrates the passion, compassion, knowledge and dedication necessary to successfully support the needs of our students and staff,” said Delli. “We feel very fortunate to have someone like Geraghty join our district who encompasses this skill set. She will truly be an asset to the administration and entire district.”
 
There were 38 applicants for the position, nine of whom were brought forward for in person screening interviews. Five of the most qualified candidates were slated to interview separately with a parent/teacher group and an administrator group. Following those interviews, two finalists were brought forward to interview with the superintendent.
 
Pleasant Ridge
Erik Friedman was recommended by Delli to serve as the new Pleasant Ridge Principal. Friedman has spent almost the entirety of his career in Evanston/Skokie District 65, having first begun as school social worker in 2002. In 2010, he was named Assistant Principal of Washington School and, in 2012, moved on to become Principal of Walker Elementary where he has remained.
 
Friedman earned his bachelor’s of arts degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, his master’s degree in social work from Loyola University, and his master’s degree in administration and leadership from Concordia University.
 
“Friedman has the experience and characteristics necessary to support the students and staff of Pleasant Ridge. His ability to develop critical relationships with all stakeholder groups and understanding of curriculum and instruction will continue to make Pleasant Ridge the high-achieving, welcoming school community that it is to all learners,” Delli said.
 
There were 45 applicants for the position, 12 of whom were brought forward for in person screening interviews. Four of the most qualified candidates were brought forward to interview separately with a parent/teacher group and an administrator group. Following those interviews, three finalists were brought forward to interview with the superintendent.
 
Westbrook
Jeannie Sung was recommended by Delli to serve as the new Westbrook Principal. Sung comes to District 34 with experiences serving in leadership positions both locally and internationally.
 
Most recently, she served as an Elementary School Principal at Shekou International School located in China. Some of her other international experience includes serving as the Deputy Head of Academics/Secondary Principal at Asia Pacific International School in Korea and Elementary/Middle School Principal at Bandung Alliance International School in Indonesia. Locally, she was Principal of South Middle School in Arlington Heights, Principal of Liberty Elementary School in Bartlett and Assistant Principal at Lake Louise Elementary School in Palatine.
 
Early on in Sung’s teaching career, she actually was part of the District 34 family, having worked as an eighth grade ESL/math teacher at Springman.
 
Sung earned her bachelor’s of arts degree from University of Illinois at Chicago, her master’s degree in educational leadership from Northeastern Illinois University, and is currently completing her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
 
“Sung’s wealth of administrative experience, both in our neighboring districts and schools outside of the United States, will greatly benefit both students and teachers at Westbrook,” Delli said. “During the interviewing process, she clearly demonstrated her ability to be a collaborative and strong leader with children always as her primary focus.”
 
There were 41 applicants for the position, 12 of whom were brought forward for in person screening interviews. Four of the most qualified candidates were brought forward to interview separately with a parent/teacher group and an administrator group. Following those interviews, two finalists were brought forward to interview with the superintendent.