Joliet Catholic Asst. Principal Named To D122 School Board
Bill Pender beat out seven other candidates to replace Sue Gillooley on the New Lenox school board.
The New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education selected Bill Pender, an assistant principal at Joliet Catholic Academy, from a field of eight candidates vying to fill a vacancy left by Sue Gillooley.
Gillooley, the former vice president of the board, resigned last month amid accusations of stalking.
Pender was informed of the decision late Wednesday night after a 15-minute interview with the board. Having received a call after the board moved to formally vote on the matter, he returned to be sworn-in. His official swearing in is scheduled for the meeting board meeting Aug. 15.
"My education and work experience will allow me to work to benefit the students of 122 in the best way that I know how," Pender said in a district news release. "Being a parent of three students in the district will help me keep the best interests of both the students and the taxpayers in mind."
Having run unsuccessfully for the board three years ago, Pender said he was not diminished in his zeal to participate.
Awaiting his interview in an earlier closed-door session with the board, Pender said, "I think it's important to get involved in the school where my children go. …I want to contribute something of value to my town."
A resident of New Lenox for seven years, he said he expects his background in education to be an asset to the board. Among the issues he anticipates addressing as a board member is the budget. "Money is always a concern."
From an educator's point of view, Pender said he appreciates the variety of opportunities for students in the district. "The technology is wonderful. I've never had an issue with class size."
He went on to discuss how "academic freedom for teachers is important as long as skills are mastered at each benchmark. That's the main thing."
A native of Hometown, Pender has earned a bachelor's degree in social studies, an master's in educational administration and an MBA in human resources.
"He has great experience and a strong commitment to our community," school board President Nick DiSandro said. "He understands the challenges school districts are facing and can offer insight from a new perspective."
DiSandro added that the board would like to thank all of the candidates who applied for the position.
Gillooley resigned June 11 following public accusations that she was stalking a resident. A Will County judge ordered that she and the accuser remain at least 100 feet apart for three months, giving them "an opportunity to calm down." Gillooley later said the disagreement was about a man they both dated.
Although Gillooley was re-elected to a four-year term in April 2011, the person appointed would only serve until the next local election, which is in April 2013. At that point, the appointee could run for election or leave the board. The winner of that election would then serve the remaining two years of Gillooley's term.
That means five of the seven board seats will be up for election in 2013. DiSandro and Maureen Broderick were also elected in 2011, but the seats of Deb Kedzior, Pat Martino, Kathy Miller and Sue Smith will be on the April 2013 ballot.