Associate Director candidates visit Uni
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 4:16pm
In the last six days of school, Uni met hosted six candidates for administrative positions: three candidates for the Assistant Director of Student Life position, two candidates for the Associate Director position, and one candidate for both positions. This article contains profiles of each candidate for the Associate Director position, based on their candidate biographies and the meetings they attended at Uni. The candidates are listed in the order in which they visited Uni. The Associate Director's job description is at the bottom of the article.
Candidate Bio: Jeanette Nuckolls, the first Associate Director candidate to visit Uni, holds a Doctorate of Education in Education Administration and Foundations and a Master of Science degree in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities and Social Emotional Disorders, both from Illinois State University, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Secondary Education from Bradley University. She has been the Principal of Normal Community High School in Normal, Illinois from 2002 to the present, and has in the past served as Assistant Principal for Normal Community West High School, the Dean of Students at Naperville Community School District 203, and the Chair of Special Education for Joliet Township High Schools.
Dr. Nuckolls is currently the principal at Normal Community High School, one of the largest high schools in the area with 1900 students. She had already announced her plans to retire when Uni High Director Jeff Walkington contacted her about this position. Nuckolls was upfront in saying she envisioned working here for five years if she were to be hired.
Although she mentioned that Normal Community High School is much more strict than Uni, she hopes that she can easily adjust to the new environment.
One of her goals at Normal Community, even though it’s one of the largest high schools in Central Illinois, is to get to know kids. She doesn’t just want to be someone they know of; she wants to be someone they actually know. She thinks that relationships are important, but keeps her relationships with students professional. She doesn’t want to be “buddies.”
Her management philosophy is to avoid micromanaging. She lets people do their jobs, and gives them support if they need it, while relying on people to ask questions if they need assistance.
“I don’t try to solve everyone’s problems. I sometimes just listen and let people vent, she said.
Ultimately, she knows that she has to make decisions, and sometimes she makes hard decisions that not everyone likes.
Her strengths are school law, public relations, working with the regional office of education, teacher certification, curriculum, teacher evaluation and school law.
Candidate Bio: April Warren-Grice, the second associate director candidate to visit Uni, earned a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Education from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. While earning her master's degree, she taught Language Arts to complete her teaching internship at Bad Aibling High School, a Department of Defense school, in Bad Aibling, Germany. After teaching in Germany, she taught Language Arts at Ritenour High School in St. Louis, MO. While teaching at Ritenour, she also coached the girls' varsity basketball team and created and directed an after-school program geared to help raise the the academic achievement of Black and Latino/a students. In 2007, Ms. Warren-Grice received the National Teacher's of Excellence Award. Upon leaving Ritenour, she enrolled in the Educational Policy Studies PhD program at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Warren-Grice aims to complete her PhD in May 2013.
Warren-Grice holds the peculiar position of being the only candidate running for both the Associate Director and Assistant Director of Student Life positions. She applied to both positions, she says, because she was encouraged to do so.
Warren-Grice began her talk by talking about "the loves of her life" - her niece and 2.5 nephews (one is on the way).
"They remind me of the infinite possibility of humanity, and I talk about them incessantly,"she said.
After momentarily going through some personal details, such as her love of food and travel, she invited people to ask her questions.
Her experience includes being a Hall Director at Truman State University, which included running a building of more than 350 students, employ[ing] more than 80 staff members and 12 residential advisers. In this role, she managed the building's budget and coordinated training and professional development with other departments at Truman State.
She is currently a counselor at the University of Illinois, working with first-year students to help them get acclimated to the U of I; she also performed that same counselor role at Truman State. In addition, Warren-Grice is also a life coach, and individually managed the schedules of, at a minimum, 120 high school students.
She had a great deal of character and charisma, as became clear with her expressive and animated speaking style, and Grice was very diplomatic in her answers.
On the issues of excellence, Grice said, “Sometimes what we have to do is rethink, reconsider, what we consider excellent. What does excellent really mean? Is excellence only, is it only, if you win this award?”
She was an easy person to talk to, and seemed to be a great advocate of students, frequently talking about getting students to the "next level." She obviously cared a lot about helping and advancing students as much as she could.
“If there are two other candidates that were great for [the other positions], I’m in the best interest of the students, so even if I did not get this position and two other people were hired because they were really qualified and they really could do what it is that Uni needs, I applaud them, because it doesn’t diminish who I am,” she says.
Candidate Bio: Gustavo Albear, the last Associate Director candidate to visit Uni, studied at the Ruston Academy in Havana Cuba (a Harvard University Laboratory School) and graduated from Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Illinois. He has a B.A. in Business & Spanish from Western Illinois University, an M.A. in Educational Administration from St. Xavier University, an Ed.S. from Eastern Illinois University in Educational Administration, and a Ph.D. from Indiana State University in Instruction, Media, and Technology with a focus on Teaching and Learning. He has completed post-graduate work at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently a professor and a member of the graduate faculty at Eastern Illinois University.
Gustavo (he goes by "Gus") Albear grew up in Cuba and went to a school that emphasized writing and learning fluent English, and which he says afforded students plenty of freedom. He witnessed Fidel Castro’s rise to power before leaving Cuba. He spent time in Madrid, Spain, before moving to the United States and living in Chicago and eventually Miami.
Albear draws a comparison to the myth that sharks can’t sleep without dying when describing himself.
“That’s me. I need to move. Change is growth. Knowledge is my quest. I’m addicted to education,” he says. "If you think young, if you think smart, if you think quick, if you think multiple variables at the same time, and if you're having a good time, you're having a fun time with it -- you're talking to me," he continued.
Gustavo "Gus" Albear is outgoing and assertive, he knows what he believes, and he was not afraid to tell the lunchtime audience what he values in education.
Albear placed a lot of emphasis on his own teaching methods as an example of good teaching. When asked by one parent what skill sets high school students need when they graduate, he drew on what he has seen in college students as examples. He believes that basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills are important, and he recounts having to spend remedial time with college students who have not been taught how to write.
“What you’re measuring, in one sense, when you’re with me, in my classrooms, is basically whether or not you know how to build a beautiful life, and that I can’t put a number on,” he states.
"I think that thinking critically so that you can construct a more beautiful answer that will generate a new idea, so that you can transfigure society for the better, is the ultimate goal of anybody who is developing their mind," he says.
Albear continues, "You have here, from what I've researched, from what I've heard, from what I've talked to, all the things that I've done in preparation to see you, and because of the reputation that you've had before, the ability to generate a great impact through the development of the leaders of the future--the real leaders of the future. The ones that can take the parts of that critical constructive thinking, and make it part of the everyday living structure that they will command."
In his time at Uni, he says he has observed "trust, honor, belief and caring" — traits that he doesn’t see in other high schools. His favorite aspect of Uni so far is “how nice people are. That’s not something common -- niceness. People have welcomed me.”
Albear connected with the Uni community he has met so far. "I felt I was coming home," he says.
Associate Director Job Description
Associate Director Job Description: The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana invites applications for the Associate Director-University High School. The position is a 100% full-time benefit eligible Academic Professional position. The salary is commensurate with experience. The Associate Director’s primary function is to support the Director in all aspects of the operation of the school, with special emphasis on student issues.
- Support the Director in all aspects of the operation of the school, with special emphasis on student issues
- Instructional Leadership
- Assist the Director in overseeing the curriculum, instruction, and teacher evaluation
- Collaborate with the Student Services Office and the faculty to monitor the progress of the students
- Administer the academic and non-academic student probationary policy
- Develop, implement, and administer a student discipline policy that creates an appropriate climate for learning
- Help parents with various events and activities
- With the SSO, oversee the development and implementation of student individualized education plans (IEP’s) and 504 plans
- Contribute to a positive, supportive climate for students by encouraging cooperation among students, parents, and staff members
- Develop and implement procedures related to the maintenance and security of student record
- Oversee the collection and distribution of student grades
- Coordinate student leaves and sabbaticals
- Coordinate the development, revision, and distribution of handbooks, including the student-parent handbook and the faculty handbook
- Coordinate changes in the daily schedule on an as-needed basis
- Oversee the procurement of substitute teachers
- Administer and oversee the school’s co-curricular program and other student activities
- Oversee and coordinate student transportation issues
- Plan, coordinate, and supervise the graduation ceremonies
- Administer policies related to student neglect, harassment, and non-discrimination
- Oversee compliance with the Health and Life Safety Code
- Assist the Director with the development and implementation of school policies and procedures
- Develop and implement school safety and emergency procedures, including an Emergency Response Plan
- Assist the Director with compliance issues related to the University, state, and federal policies
- Direct Admissions
- Oversee facility use, maintenance, and upgrades
- Supervise the development of the master and individual schedules
- Lead or participate in Curriculum and Executive Committees, MPAG, and the PFO Board
- Ensure student registration
- Exhibit a positive attitude and maintain integrity even in difficult situations
- Use sound decision-making skills, accept responsibility for decisions, and accept constructive criticism when necessary
- Maintain currency in regard to new laws, and instructional issues
- Manage conflict in a professional manner, with an emphasis on conflicts between students and student-faculty conflicts
- Maintain confidentiality when necessary
- Serve as a liaison with the Regional Office of Education
- Represent the school to the University and community
Master’s degree in appropriate field of study and minimum of five years of teaching experience
- State of Illinois administrative certification
- Excellent communication abilities both oral and written
- Demonstrated love for secondary school students